By George Pattison

This ebook courses the reader in the course of the later, extra advanced paintings of Martin Heidegger. It deals a transparent creation to the most subject matters that preoccupied Heidegger within the moment a part of his profession: expertise, artwork, the background of philosophy, and the exploration of a brand new post-technological frame of mind. Pattison additionally assesses the character of Heidegger's concept and the importance for philosophy today.

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The will to the essence of the German university is the will to science as the will to the historical spiritual mission of the German Volk as a Volk that knows itself in its state ... [Teachers and students must] stand firm in the face of German fate extreme in its extreme distress (Wolin 1993: 29–30) This will to the essence of science must, Heidegger continues, be developed in relation to the original beginning of science amongst the Greeks, but it is also what creates for the German Volk today ‘a truly spiritual world’: ‘And the spiritual world of a Volk is not its cultural superstructure, just as little as it is its arsenal of useful knowledge and values; rather, it is the power that comes from preserving at the most profound level the forces that are rooted in the soil and blood [Boden und Blut] of a Volk’ (Wolin 1993: 33–4).

Of course, Heidegger does not understand this in terms of subordinating academic enquiry and debate to the dictates of politics but in terms of positive participation in the collective life of the people as a necessary precondition of academic work. Yet the policy of Gleichschaltung (‘coordination’) between university and state that Heidegger promoted as the practical expression of such participation did, inevitably and even obviously, open the door to direct political influence on academic life.

The heroic spirit of the German Volk was needed against the mercantile spirit of England. In the light of this mission the Volk must take priority over the individual. 8 Not only did this conception of Volk call for loyalty and self-sacrifice on the part of individuals, it also encouraged a negative attitude towards democracy. As Young quotes Wilhelm Wundt, one of the spokesmen for the ‘ideas of 1914’, “‘Between democratic and German thought no accommodation is possible”’ (ibid: 22). This does not necessarily mean a dictatorship of the right, since it could also be understood as endorsing the co-operative values of socialism.

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