Husserl and Heidegger

March 8, 2013

Tags: George Steiner, TLS

"Without him, no existentialism, no deconstruction, no post-structuralism as we know them."
George Steiner`s verdict in the TLS of 22 February 2013 on Martin Heidegger`s contemporary academic legacy in `How Private a Nazi`is even more true when applied to Edmund Husserl. Heidegger had brutally gazumped and then adopted many of the original insights of his mentor Husserl, by using his new position as Rektor of Freiburg University to remove him from his professorial post.

Ironically despite the typecasting of Heidegger by the Nazis as "too private" to be of use to them, his own theories derived from a rejection of private experience, of the original John Locke distinction between "person" and "human being." Classically it was Benjamin Constant who showed how Rousseau`s Social Contract had contained a sleight of mind, whereby the subjective was abolished in the interest of the community,

Similarly - and with far graver consequences - Heidegger trampled private experience (Erlebnis) into the dust, with repercussions from which Western intellectual life and freedom has not recovered, given his widespread adoption by key University academics and their courses.

The necessary motto is: BACK TO HUSSERL!

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