Thursday, October 10, 2013

Heidegger’s leadership

briefly hoping that philosophical practice could be emancipatory administration

[May 2016: This was part of my Facebook project on Heidegger, which I’m gradually transposing to this blog. It was intended for persons not very familiar with Heidegger who may be steered away by hermeneutical gossip.]

Living with, working with, and thinking through Heidegger’s texts can be wonderful—delightful and profoundly engaging.

But many persons accept invalid readings of Heidegger relative to the political environment of the 1930s, readings which are biographically underinformed or/and philosophically misguided.

My discussion (link below) is based on definitive scholarship by Theodore Kisiel, author of the magisterial The Genesis of Being and Time and other careful scholarship.

Heidegger’s sense of leadership expressed an emancipatory philosophical interest in enabling his locality to show community-based potential. Educational leadership enables the people to be the self-formative basis of the good state.

He dreamily saw philosophy having a leading role in university reform and wanted university leadership to enable community-based constructiveness. Rallying students to engage in the economic recovery was part of bringing more university influence into his locality, not supporting Hitler. As an overtly philosophical administrator, he did all he could to protect the university from Nazi influence, but gave up after a year. He hoped that Hitler might be influenced by him, as famous philosopher. But he did not do anything to suggest that he was or wanted to be influenced by Hitler. He was scathingly critical of racism before he became rector and continually critical of the assumptions of onto-technocratic power.

The answer to prejudice is education, both in scholarship and for cultural progress. Emancipatory thinking may educe one’s ownmost advance of self-understanding—and advance the self-confidence (thus, graciousness) which is necessary for generous spirit. Heidegger saw philosophy as a practical basis for durable openness to truly understanding and living with all ways of genuine lives.