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Friday, May 8, 2020

Heidegger and the Countermovement to Nihilism

Heidegger never accepted that he had erred by supporting the Nazis—he was convinced that Nazism had failed to achieve its philosophical objectives because it went astray. In a 1930s lecture, he said that he saw Fascism (or Nazism) as a countermovement to the problem of European nihilism which Nietzsche has described. By endorsing Hitler, Heidegger thought that he was endorsing a countermovement to nihilism and bringing Germany closer to the metaphysical realm of Nietzsche. He aspired to have with Hitler the kind of relationship that Plato had with Dionysius (the king of Syracuse)—but after the Nazi regime’s fall, Heidegger complained that he felt let down by Hitler. On Heidegger’s dalliance with the Nazis, Karl Jaspers said, “Children who play at the wheel of world history are smashed to bits.”

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