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"Martin Heidegger (/ˈhaɪdɛɡər, ˈhaɪdɪɡər/; German: [ˈmaʁtiːn ˈhaɪdɛɡɐ]; 26 September 1889 – 26 May 1976) was a German philosopher who is widely regarded as one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century. He is best known for contributions to phenomenology, hermeneutics, and existentialism.

In Heidegger's fundamental text Being and Time (1927), "Dasein" [ˈdaːzaɪn] is introduced as a term for the specific type of being that humans possess. Dasein has been translated as "being there". Heidegger believes that Dasein already has a "pre-ontological" and non-abstract understanding that shapes how it lives. This mode of being he terms "being in the world". Commentators have noted that Dasein and "being in the world" are unitary concepts in contrast with the "subject/object" view of rationalist philosophy since at least René Descartes. Heidegger uses an analysis of Dasein to approach the question of the meaning of being, which Heidegger scholar Michael Wheeler describes as "concerned with what makes beings intelligible as beings".

Heidegger's later work includes criticism of the view, common in the Western tradition, that all of nature is a "standing reserve" on call, as if it were a part of industrial inventory.

Heidegger was a member and supporter of the Nazi Party. There is controversy as to the relationship between his philosophy and his Nazism.

Heidegger was born in rural Meßkirch, Baden-Württemberg, the son of Johanna (Kempf) and Friedrich Heidegger. Raised a Roman Catholic, he was the son of the sexton of the village church that adhered to the First Vatican Council of 1870, which was observed mainly by the poorer class of Meßkirch. His family could not afford to send him to university, so he entered a Jesuit seminary, though he was turned away within weeks because of the health requirement and what the director and doctor of the seminary described as a psychosomatic heart condition. Heidegger was short and sinewy, with dark piercing eyes. He enjoyed outdoor pursuits, being especially proficient at skiing.

Studying theology at the University of Freiburg while supported by the church, later he switched his field of study to philosophy. Heidegger completed his doctoral thesis on psychologism in 1914, influenced by Neo-Thomism and Neo-Kantianism, directed by Arthur Schneider. In 1916, he finished his venia legendi with a habilitation thesis on Duns Scotus directed by Heinrich Rickert and influenced by Edmund Husserl's phenomenology.

In the two years following, he worked first as an unsalaried Privatdozent then served as a soldier during the final year of World War I; serving "the last ten months of the war" with "the last three of those in a meteorological unit on the western front".

In 1923, Heidegger was elected to an extraordinary Professorship in Philosophy at the University of Marburg. His colleagues there included Rudolf Bultmann, Nicolai Hartmann, Paul Tillich, and Paul Natorp. Heidegger's students at Marburg included Hans-Georg Gadamer, Hannah Arendt, Karl Löwith, Gerhard Krüger, Leo Strauss, Jacob Klein, Günther Anders, and Hans Jonas. Following on from Aristotle, he began to develop in his lectures the main theme of his philosophy: the question of the sense of being. He extended the concept of subject to the dimension of history and concrete existence, which he found prefigured in such Christian thinkers as Saint Paul, Augustine of Hippo, Luther, and Kierkegaard. He also read the works of Wilhelm Dilthey, Husserl, Max Scheler, and Friedrich Nietzsche.

In 1927, Heidegger published his main work, Sein und Zeit (Being and Time). When Husserl retired as Professor of Philosophy in 1928, Heidegger accepted Freiburg's election to be his successor, in spite of a counter-offer by Marburg. Heidegger remained at Freiburg im Breisgau for the rest of his life, declining a number of later offers, including one from Humboldt University of Berlin. His students at Freiburg included Hannah Arendt, Günther Anders, Hans Jonas, Karl Löwith, Charles Malik, Herbert Marcuse, and Ernst Nolte. Karl Rahner likely attended four of his seminars in four semesters from 1934 to 1936. Emmanuel Levinas attended his lecture courses during his stay in Freiburg in 1928, as did Jan Patočka in 1933; Patočka in particular was deeply influenced by him.

Heidegger was elected rector of the University on 21 April 1933, and joined the National Socialist German Workers' (Nazi) Party on 1 May. During his time as rector of Freiburg, Heidegger was not only a member of the Nazi Party, but an enthusiastic supporter of the Nazis. There is controversy as to the relationship between his philosophy and his Nazism.

He wanted to position himself as the philosopher of the Party, but the highly abstract nature of his work and the opposition of Alfred Rosenberg, who himself aspired to act in that position, limited Heidegger's role. His resignation from the rectorate owed more to his frustration as an administrator than to any principled opposition to the Nazis, according to historians. In his inaugural address as rector on 27 May he expressed his support of a German revolution, and in an article and a speech to the students from the same year he also supported Adolf Hitler. In November 1933, Heidegger signed the Vow of allegiance of the Professors of the German Universities and High-Schools to Adolf Hitler and the National Socialistic State.

Heidegger resigned the rectorate in April 1934, but remained a member of the Nazi Party until 1945 even though (as Julian Young asserts) the Nazis eventually prevented him from publishing. In the autumn of 1944, Heidegger was drafted into the Volkssturm, assigned to dig anti-tank ditches along the Rhine.

Heidegger's Black Notebooks, written between 1931 and 1959 and first published in 2014, contain several expressions of anti-semitic sentiments, which have led to a re-evaluation of Heidegger's relation to Nazism. Having analysed the Black Notebooks, Donatella di Cesare asserts in her book Heidegger and the Jews that "metaphysical anti-Semitism" and antipathy toward Jews were central to Heidegger's philosophical work. Heidegger, according to di Cesare, considered Jewish people to be agents of modernity disfiguring the spirit of Western civilization; he held the Holocaust to be the logical result of the Jewish acceleration of technology, and thus blamed the Jewish genocide on its victims themselves.

In late 1946, as France engaged in épuration légale in its Occupation zone, the French military authorities determined that Heidegger should be blocked from teaching or participating in any university activities because of his association with the Nazi Party. The denazification procedures against Heidegger continued until March 1949 when he was finally pronounced a Mitläufer (the second lowest of five categories of "incrimination" by association with the Nazi regime). No punitive measures against him were proposed. This opened the way for his readmission to teaching at Freiburg University in the winter semester of 1950–51. He was granted emeritus status and then taught regularly from 1951 until 1958, and by invitation until 1967."

               (from Wikipedia)

 

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