Heidegger – Nature, History, State: 1933-1934

[update: thanks to Harvey Shoolman for details – the hardback of this is now published; a paperback is due in 2015. The seminars were published in German in the Heidegger Jahrbuch vols 4 and 5].


Intriguing news of a new volume of Heidegger’s seminars – Nature, History, State: 1933-1934 (I’ve linked to the Google Books page, as the publisher one is missing.) Amazon have this listed for October 2013.

Nature, History, State: 1933-1934 presents the first complete English-language translation of Heidegger’s seminar ‘On the Essence and Concepts of Nature, History and State’, together with full introductory material and interpretive essays by five leading thinkers and scholars: Robert Bernasconi, Peter Eli Gordon, Marion Heinz, Theodore Kisiel and Slavoj Žižek. The seminar, which was held while Heidegger was serving as National Socialist rector of the University of Freiburg, represents important evidence of the development of Heidegger’s political thought. The text consists of ten ‘protocols’ on the seminar sessions, composed by students and reviewed by Heidegger. The first session’s protocol is a rather personal commentary on the atmosphere in the classroom, but the remainder have every appearance of being faithful transcripts of Heidegger’s words, in which he raises a variety of fundamental questions about nature, history and the state. The seminar culminates in an attempt to sketch a political philosophy that supports the ‘Fuhrer state’. The text is important evidence for anyone considering the tortured question of Heidegger’s Nazism and its connection to his philosophy in general.

The seminars are translated by Gregory Fried and Richard Polt, responsible for the new translation of Introduction to Metaphysics and the lecture volume Being and Truth. Thanks to Enowning for the link. Are these seminar protocols available in German? I don’t think they are in a published volume of the Gesamtausgabe.

This entry was posted in Martin Heidegger, Slavoj Zizek. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Heidegger – Nature, History, State: 1933-1934

  1. William Behun says:

    I would submit that we need to be careful in attributing too much of this to Heidegger directly. Student protocols are fascinating and important, to be sure, but making the leap to the conclusion that these are Heidegger’s words or even directly reflective of his thought is dicey at best.

    I remember working on Hegel’s Lectures on the Philosophy of World History through a translation that included lots of student interpolations (thankfully marked out as such) and I found that there was a real, though often subtle, shift in tone and content between Hegel’s written notes and the student notes.

    This is potentially a great contribution to Heidegger scholarship and a great resource for understanding the relationship between Heidegger’s philosophy and National Socialism, but I think we would be well advised, as we always are, to read carefully and critically.

    • stuartelden says:

      Absolutely – no disagreement from me with this. I think one of the things we need to be careful about with any thinker is how we read the work they published in their lifetime compared to posthumous publications, lecture courses, notebooks, seminar protocols, etc. These all have different purposes, intended audiences, etc., and it difficult, but necessary, to account for this in our readings. It is a debate that has been had in much more detail with Nietzsche, but some recognition of this in relation to Heidegger – and, I’d add, Foucault – would be valuable. I hope that the framing essays in this volume of Heidegger’s addresses some of those textual, as well as contextual issues.

  2. Enowning says:

    I wonder why the publisher removed the book’s web page after a day.

    This seminar is not in the GA, but bits from the seminar were used by Faye, so that created impetus to publish the seminar.

    Here’s an article from when the seminar was published in Germany in 2010:

    The essay by Slavoj Žižek has already available as a chapter in his recent Hegel book.

  3. stuartelden says:

    Reblogged this on Progressive Geographies and commented:

    Some updated information on the publication of this politically-charged seminar of Heidegger’s.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s