Enowing has the good news that Richard Polt’s The Emergency of Being: On Heidegger’s “Contributions to Philosophy” is coming out in paperback, with a new preface. The new preface is also available online. hen this book came out, I reviewed it for Continental Philosophy Review (freely available here), and wrote:
Polt has undoubtedly a difficult task. The difficulties are in part due to the lack of an agreed vocabulary for reading the key terms within Heidegger’s work of the 1930s and beyond, and the relative lack of careful work on Heidegger’s thought of this period, compared to that of the 1920s. This book is a major contribution to that subfield of Heidegger studies. If it lacks the textual fidelity and contextual insights of the work of Theodore Kisiel, it is more philosophically, that is argumentatively, concerned… he argues that ‘‘the Contributions absolve Heidegger of any charges that he was an uncritical supporter of Nazism until the bitter end’’ (178). This is an understandable interpretation, and one with which I would broadly agree, but it tends to see Nazism as rather too much of a unified doctrine of thought.There were debates and disputes within National Socialism—a writer like Heidegger could be critical of key elements, as he was even in 1933–1934, without this meaning that this was a critique from the outside. In that sense, as with others, this interpretation needs to be balanced with those who have worked through the ‘negative’, a task I would suggest is equally in need of the careful argumentation, contextualisation, and interpretative rigour that is on display here.
I’ve not kept up on the secondary Heidegger literature in the past several years, but expect that the book is still an essential introduction to the Contributions, now available in a much better translation.