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TheDigger

Dealing with Heidegger's Nazism

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I need specific help with the fact that heidegger was a nazi, what kinds of arguments should i cut/make against his participation in National Socialism?

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Guest svfrey

ok

this is what we kids who take latin like to call "argumentum ad hominem" or "attack on/against the man"

basically, it simplefies to "ZOMG!!111! ur author wuz a baaaad person nd u shoodnt listen to nething they wrote becuz they're a bad person, juuuuudge!"

 

seriously, this is one of the easiest arguments to answer

just say "evaluate this argument on the basis of it's philosophical claims, not on who came up with it."

also make the argument that it's not a reason to reject his philosophy, it's just like, and FYI at best

and if you're getting into h-digger, then you should already know stuff like that

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but couldnt you make the claim that because they thought that bein a nazi was ok, that their philosophical position is tainted and justifies fascism?

 

and it doesnt really sound like an ad hom, it challenges the basis of heideggers thought process, it makes him sound like a hypocrite he was like calculative though bad, but wasnt the holocaust a calculated genocide of a group of people?

Edited by moneyman21

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Guest svfrey

well, under the fundamental definition of an ad hominem argument, saying that heidegger was a nazi is saying that since he was part of an evil organization, you should take everything he says with a grain of salt. i don't get why you think that's not an ad hominem argument?...

 

also, it's not a reason to reject his philosophy, because a lot of people in germany were part of the nazi party. unless you have some kind of evidence that heidegger was part of hitler's core group that planned all the war efforts and decided to commit the holocaust, then it doesnt matter. for example, phil kerpen is the moderator of cross-x.com, but people still cut his own articles for econ DA's. does that make them any less credible? no. he's a respected economist, so people listen to him. oh, and there's no strong proof that heidegger's philosophy was what the Nazis used for their underlying principles of national socialism

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well, under the fundamental definition of an ad hominem argument, saying that heidegger was a nazi is saying that since he was part of an evil organization, you should take everything he says with a grain of salt. i don't get why you think that's not an ad hominem argument?...

 

If the example you just cited is an example of an ad hominem attack, why is an ad hominem attack automatically rendered a bad argument? The argument you just made (Heidegger was a Nazi and all academics in a Nazi institution at that time were required to put out Nazi propaganda so you should take everything he says with a grain of salt) makes sense as an argument to make in the debate round even if its regarded as an ad hominem attack.

 

also, it's not a reason to reject his philosophy, because a lot of people in germany were part of the nazi party.

 

Um.......no? The underlying concept here is the same as 'I'll steal because all the cool kids are doing it'. Just because a lot of Germans were part of the Nazi party doesn't make Nazi influenced philosphy spouted by one German acceptable.

 

unless you have some kind of evidence that heidegger was part of hitler's core group that planned all the war efforts and decided to commit the holocaust, then it doesnt matter. for example, phil kerpen is the moderator of cross-x.com, but people still cut his own articles for econ DA's. does that make them any less credible? no. he's a respected economist, so people listen to him.

 

Why would you need evidence that says Heidegger was part of Hitler's core group. That's the equivalant of saying evidence from a neoconservative only counts if they worked in the Bush Administration. Regardless of whether Heidegger was part of Hitler's core group, the only link you need to win for this argument is that Heidegger's philosphy justifies Nazism or that Heidegger's philosphy used in the debate round is part of his justification of Nazism during that reign. I'm not saying that it's an easy link to win, I'm just pointing it out. The example you cite makes no sense in the context of whether or not questioning Heidegger's philosphy because of his Nazism is a legitmate argument.

 

oh, and there's no strong proof that heidegger's philosophy was what the Nazis used for their underlying principles of national socialism

This is the only argument that you make in your post that could actually be made in the debate round. This is the debate that would happen.

However, I'd also like to point out that the team debating against Heidegger has 2 scenarious for discrediting his argument. The first is that Heidegger's philosphy justifies Nazism (which you seem to believe to be false. The second is that his philosphy (as used in the debate round) was Nazi propaganda that was written to suck up to the Nazi's.

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but couldnt you make the claim that because they thought that bein a nazi was ok, that their philosophical position is tainted and justifies fascism?

 

and it doesnt really sound like an ad hom, it challenges the basis of heideggers thought process, it makes him sound like a hypocrite he was like calculative though bad, but wasnt the holocaust a calculated genocide of a group of people?

Thats why this argument is very good, something I'd differ about with Kyle.

 

The best answer is just to say, well, when he saw how evil the organization was, he quit it. At the beginning the socialist party appeared to be an escape from a technological mode of thinking, but he discovered that he was wrong and corrected his mistake.

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if somebody made the heidegger argument would it be legit to say hey we justify heideggers criticism as it applied to you affirmative and this debate

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if somebody made the heidegger argument would it be legit to say hey we justify heideggers criticism as it applied to you affirmative and this debate

 

The argument your making is we should only have to defend our use of Heideggers philosophy in this debate round. If you can't articulate a specific link to our appropriation of Heidegger's philosphy as per the 1NC criticism, there's no reason your claims should apply. Forcing a team to defend the entirety of an authors work sets a terrible precedent.

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Guest svfrey
If the example you just cited is an example of an ad hominem attack, why is an ad hominem attack automatically rendered a bad argument? The argument you just made (Heidegger was a Nazi and all academics in a Nazi institution at that time were required to put out Nazi propaganda so you should take everything he says with a grain of salt) makes sense as an argument to make in the debate round even if its regarded as an ad hominem attack.

 

i'm not answering the question of "why is it bad?" i'm just making a delineation as to what exactly is an ad hominem argument

 

Um.......no? The underlying concept here is the same as 'I'll steal because all the cool kids are doing it'. Just because a lot of Germans were part of the Nazi party doesn't make Nazi influenced philosphy spouted by one German acceptable.

 

who says any of his philosophy was influenced by his stint in nazism? besides, he resigned like half a year after being offered the position of rector (pretty high place in the third reich hierarchy). even though he didn't cancel his membership in the party, he certainly didn't hold rallies endorsing nazi ideology. plus, most of his works during the nazi period were analyses of nihilism and nietzschean ideas, which weren't at all influenced by nazism

 

Why would you need evidence that says Heidegger was part of Hitler's core group. That's the equivalant of saying evidence from a neoconservative only counts if they worked in the Bush Administration. Regardless of whether Heidegger was part of Hitler's core group, the only link you need to win for this argument is that Heidegger's philosphy justifies Nazism or that Heidegger's philosphy used in the debate round is part of his justification of Nazism during that reign. I'm not saying that it's an easy link to win, I'm just pointing it out. The example you cite makes no sense in the context of whether or not questioning Heidegger's philosphy because of his Nazism is a legitmate argument.

 

ok, then if the only link you need to win is that it justifies/was influenced by nazism, then you'll never win it. any major connections he had were severed when he resigned as rector in 1934. and why doesn't phil kerpen prove my argument? if you're going to make some sort of "he's a prominent member of the debate community and any articles he writes will be biased towards helping debaters win debate rounds, not offering meaningful analysis on the economic state of affairs in America. I guess it's more of a link between him and Berube, but the example still makes sense in the overall context of ad hominem arguments

 

This is the only argument that you make in your post that could actually be made in the debate round. This is the debate that would happen.

However, I'd also like to point out that the team debating against Heidegger has 2 scenarious for discrediting his argument. The first is that Heidegger's philosphy justifies Nazism (which you seem to believe to be false. The second is that his philosphy (as used in the debate round) was Nazi propaganda that was written to suck up to the Nazi's.

 

sure. even if this is the only argument, it's a lot easier to prove that his philosophy wasn't nazi propoganda than to prove that it was. this was easily the most common argument people ran against me when i had heidegger in my 1NC this year, and no one ever went for it in the 2AR.

 

.

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Guest svfrey
The argument your making is we should only have to defend our use of Heideggers philosophy in this debate round. If you can't articulate a specific link to our appropriation of Heidegger's philosphy as per the 1NC criticism, there's no reason your claims should apply. Forcing a team to defend the entirety of an authors work sets a terrible precedent.

 

 

i knew i was forgetting something else when i made my first post.

 

this is the same kind of thing that people say in response to indicts of nietzsche.

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i didnt read the whole thread, but here is my 2cents"

 

i think that hiedegger was a nazi is a bad link to a holocaust impact turn to the k. by that i mean, the author being a nazi doesnt mean his work justifies nazism/the holocaust necessarily. Win a link to the philoshpy, not the dude who wrote it.

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if you read the literature you will get PLENTY of defenses (and so many cards that you wont know what to do with them all...)

 

suffice to say, Heideggerians today are TOTALLY AGAINST nazi type politics, moreso than many others...

 

Michael Dillon, 1996, Lecturer International Relations, U Lancaster, Politics of Security: Political Philosophy of Continental Thought

 

Nothing, then, is without danger. Certainly not, of course, traditional thought of the political upon which our modern (inter)national politics of security rely. Dealing with dangerous discourses of danger should, therefore, encourage caution, but there is simply no escaping the risk. For this risk is the risk which mortal freedom necessarily entails. Here, Heidegger, not only the leading philosopher of the philosophy of the limit but also the most controversial, himself provides one of the best guides. He does so not simply because his own thought is a model of deliberate and careful questioning, specifically designed to impose a brake upon the sheer velocity, and effect a break with, the imperatives of the tradition in an effort to disrupt its ballistic trajectory. He is a good guide because he seems to have proved fatefully fallible in his commitment to his own project at the very point In which he directly encountered the question of the political. Ordinarily taken to be the decisive reason for dismissing Heidegger, I think that this fallibility has a crucial value in the recovery of political thought, precisely because in the pursuit of the question of the political one can never rest easy with Heidegger’s thinking, or adopt him as a political mentor. In addition, then, to his model of questioning, his very conduct keeps political questioning alive within you.

 

Edit - this isnt the best card to answer this arg with, but instead an indication of how heideggerians see the issue

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This, tragically, is Heidegger's big fault in life. But you have to take a few things into consideration.

 

Heidegger really saw national socialism as a way to move up in life. By joining the nazi party he was able to sell out some of his friends and get a higher rank in his university. He hoped that one day he'd be able to work in the political process and work along side hitler, even. But his ultimate political aspirations were never realized, and so he stopped being active in the party long before the war ended, or before the germans were even losing. If anything, Heidegger's nazism just shows that he was a bit power-hungry, and not looking for some jews to kill. Also, it's important to note that the only mechanism that would exist in a debate round that tries to merge heidegger's philosophy with the political process (much as how heidegger did in real life) is the permutation. So really, these types of arguments can be seen as a DA to the perm.

 

Also it's important to note that heidegger's only philosophy that really links into nazism, or resembles nazism is his middle-career stuff which no one cuts anyway. Being and Time is all about individual authenticity and was written in the 20s and the question concerning technology was written long after world war II was over and he became inactive in the party.

 

It'd be a good idea to challenge someone who reads "Heidegger was a nazi" cards to show you where in your 1NC shell are there any arguments that resemble nazism or fascism. Chances are they can't because it doesn't relate to his thought process at all in any heidegger arguments run in debate rounds.

 

The argument can be made that "His being okay with nazism poisons every other thing he touches." But that's just a bit ridiculous. In debate we run and defend his ideas, not him as a person. Besides, it wouldn't be the first time we've been okay with nazis being a part of our society. Everyone knows that we hired german scientists after WWII.

 

Finally, Heidegger's critique of technology is essentially a critique of fascism. It questions that the world should exist in a perpetually ordered and controlled way. In the most extreme form, this type of ordering results in genocide in an attempt to form the 'most efficient race possible.' This is where the genocide impacts to heidegger come from.

Edited by -JD

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Also it's important to note that heidegger's only philosophy that really links into nazism, or resembles nazism is his middle-career stuff which no one cuts anyway. Being and Time is all about individual authenticity and was written in the 20s and the question concerning technology was written long after world war II was over and he became inactive in the party.

 

...

 

 

Finally, Heidegger's critique of technology is essentially a critique of fascism. It questions that the world should exist in a perpetually ordered and controlled way. In the most extreme form, this type of ordering results in genocide in an attempt to form the 'most efficient race possible.' This is where the genocide impacts to heidegger come from.

 

both so true this nazi arg looks ridiculous...

Edited by Gianattasio

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What are the main arguments involving Heidegger in a debate round? I have read quite a bit of Being and Time, and I am at a loss for how this might apply in a debate.

 

Also, what do these authors mean when they say that Heidegger 'questions the political' or 'addresses the political?'

 

If anyone out there can tackle this with a couple of bullet points, I would be delighted. I would rather hear a couple of 'greatest hits' from Heidegger, rather than (1) any biographical information, or (2) any opaque, self-defining, tangential, circuitous talk.

Edited by Hephaestus

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Thats why this argument is very good' date=' something I'd differ about with Kyle.

 

The best answer is just to say, well, when he saw how evil the organization was, he quit it. At the beginning the socialist party appeared to be an escape from a technological mode of thinking, but he discovered that he was wrong and corrected his mistake.[/quote']

 

Wait, how'd I get involved?

 

Well, most of the good answers to this argument are hashed out here. Yes, "Digger Was A Nazi" is better than your average ad hom (not that it's saying a lot), but it's not the point you want to rely on to win a flow.

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I'm no expert, but I'll address your first question...

 

1. Heidegger's use in debate revolves mostly around his essay The Question Concerning Technology in which Heidegger criticizes "technological society". In debate the link is usually about the affirmative's engagement in a problem-solution mindset. Problems are identified as needing a solution which is calculated in the most efficient way possible. This calculative thought allows people to be killed for the sake of efficiency. People are thought of as means to an end solution. It's easy to see how this applies to Nazism.

 

2. I'll leave someone else to answer your second question, I've only really studied Heidegger's works themselves, not the secondary literature.

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I run Heidegger, and run into the Nazi argument pretty frequently...

 

A couple things we've had success with:

 

1. We can learn from Heidegger's mistake to ensure the alternative doesn't fall into the same problematic politics Heidegger succumbed to. This turns thier Nazi argument and allows you to garner extra solvency.

 

2. Point out that Heidegger's philosphy changed dramatically after his disillusionment with the Nazis, and your evidence is probably from the later period of his writing.

 

3. Zizek has a chapter in his new book (In Defense of Lost Causes) that characterizes Heidegger's Nazism as a "right step in the wrong direction". Cut it...

 

4. Hitler liked ice cream. The aff likes ice cream.The affirmative team are nazis.(This rests on the same ad hominem logic that the Nazi argument does)

 

Make sure you make them articulate a direct link to Heidegger's philosophy, chances are they can't.

Edited by jimpeterson

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Doesn't this 'problem/solution' thing seem outrageously broad? For example, if there is a road outside my house that needs fixing, is it really a good argument to suggest that we shouldn't fix the road because doing so falls into a 'problem/solution' mindset?

 

I can see there being instances where you don't necessarily want to provide a solution to every problem that comes up for various reasons. For example, you can argue that we shouldn't 'fix' third world hunger because (1) it fosters dependency, or (2) it is an invasion of sovereignty - both are good arguments.

 

But to say that we should not fix a problem because it reflects a mindset that is 'too problem/solution' based seems to general to actually apply to anything. Perhaps Heidegger was just commenting on the way people tend to look at things, etc. I will have to read the article, but something tells me that it means that people shouldn't be reliant on a technological solution to every little problem. Perhaps it has nothing to do with technology at all - maybe it's just this 'problem/solution' mindset.

 

There might be some truth to this, but I think that typically affs claim enough significance such that the harms don't fall into one of these 'pesky problems.'

 

I am also a little leery of the way people tend to apply a 'just grin and bear it' attitude toward a lot of things. For example, the guy that just moved in next door to me has a broken central air conditioner. To the landlord, it is 'just another pesky problem.' It's more than that to the guy that just moved in...

 

I don't know how much I like these arguments where teams try desperately to get the name of a famous 20th century philosopher on the flow pad. I saw a round last year where they talked about Wittgenstein. The application was sketchy at best. Does anyone actually believe that an argument in a debate round coming from Wittgenstein or Heidegger make it a good position? I would much rather hear an argument from a guy that I never heard of before that was talking about the specific position at hand rather than engage in this namby pamby philosopher hero-worship nonsense I hear in some of these rounds.

Edited by Hephaestus

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Wait, how'd I get involved?

 

Well, most of the good answers to this argument are hashed out here. Yes, "Digger Was A Nazi" is better than your average ad hom (not that it's saying a lot), but it's not the point you want to rely on to win a flow.

oops, lol I'm sorry I got you mixed up with sean

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mostly jejune

 

The problem solution mindset has to deal with ontology rather than the ontic. Indeed, much of criticism has to deal with our desire to reduce being to nothing more than an ontic standing reserve.

 

I don't really feel like translating right now, but I'll make it simple. The jews were a problem for the nazis, they came up with a solution. This is definitional technological thought. Clearly, technology is fine for the ontic, but not for the ontological (and if you are having trouble understanding the distinction between those think of the TV show Bones. Someone is murdered, and Bones is chatting with a family member. She tells them that their son died, how he was killed, what happened to his bones, to his organs. How far the bullet penetrated and killed the son. All of that is true, all of that is ontic. And if we are merely trying to figure out how the son died, sure, that's fine. But to the parents there, how does any of that address the ontological truth of their son? Having seen him born, teaching him to ride a bike, planning on college, looking forward to seeing him married. The existence of the dead son is more than the ontic, it is also the ontological. A problem/solution mindset, ie a technological mindset, allows us to forget the ontological. That forgetting is what also allows us to turn the Jews into a standing reserve of life, something that needs to be solved for. This type of thinking is also what allows you to say we shouldn't help people starving because it might cause dependency. As if someone starving, the reality of someone dying through malnutrition and hunger, as if justice itself, can only be a calculation of pros and cons).

Edited by TheScuSpeaks
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Why Heidegger being a nazi might matter:

 

First of all, I think we are in something of a double bind. Either Heidegger's philosophy lacked any real world implication (one can endorse a Heideggerian philosophy and still promote Nazism), or Heidegger himself thought there was a connection between his philosophy and the ethos of National Socialism.

 

Someone argued that we could separate Heidegger's work from his middle part of his career. Not only would I point out such a reading of Heidegger was fundamentally anti-heideggerian (come on, hermeneutics anyone?), but that also doesn't really seem possible to me. For example, heidegger's emphasis on authenticity seems to be directly connected to a certain nazi emphasis on purity (Adorno makes this point forcefully and intelligently in his Jargon of Authenticity, which was recently republished after years of being out of print). As a matter of fact, at the heart of the Rector Address is the desire for purity and authenticity (Derrida makes this point in Of Spirit).

 

Indeed, throughout much of Heidegger's work we can see an exploration of autochthonous philosophy. That is to say, Heidegger was interested, as opposed to a free-floating intelligence (Heidegger's term, D&G might understand that to mean a nomadic philosophy), to philosophy laying down roots. He was found of loyalty to blood and soil (that old nazi slogan), a sharp agrarian fascism can be found throughout Heidegger's work (indeed, we can find it in his kritik of technological thought). Charles Bambach lays down many of these arguments in his smart, though overly sympathetic book, Heidegger's Roots.

 

I got to go, I'll try to finish up this post later, and also try to answer the original question.

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Zizek wrote some stuff about heidegger's engagement w/ nazism in The Ticklish Subject p.11-22 you might be able to cut some cards on the Heid was a nazi issue. my two favorite qutes are:

 

"...heideggerians are thus eternally in search of a positive, ontic political system that would come closest to the epochal ontological truth, a strategy which innevitably leads to error (which, of course, is always acknowledged only retroactively, post factum, after the disasterous outcome of one's engagement)." p.13

 

"in a perverted way, Heidegger's Nazi engagement was thus a 'step in the right direction', a step towards openly admitting and fully assuming the consequences of the lack of ontological guarantee..."

 

none the less it's a good read.

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Thanks for the explanation. I recall seeing this distinction made at the beginning of Being and Time, but I didn't know that this dealt with ethics as well. I thought this distinction was strictly in the realm of epistemology. I imagine he applies this distinction in an ethical sphere in the essay on technology - I will have to read that some time.

 

I would argue that the 'dependency' argument against food aid is not merely 'ontic.' I think that there are reasons for not providing food aid that go beyond merely looking at the practical consequences of the giver of the aid.

 

It sounds like the key element of this 'technological mindset' is the idea that one actor is going to make decisions that affect another party that have absolutely no regard for the party that is acted upon. For example, the Germans having no regard for the lives of the Jews; rather, only calculating what is good for themselves, the Germans.

 

I think that one very good argument against such a kritik is when the aff reads a position that is very humanitarian in nature, and the other team stands up and says 'yes, but you are still perpetuating this mindset - you are still thinking in technological terms in dealing with other persons, other nations.'

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