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“The Misinterpretation of Violence”: Heidegger’s Reading of Hegel and Schmitt on Gewalt

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image of Research in Phenomenology

In the winter semester 1934–35 Heidegger used the occasion of an introductory seminar on Hegel’s Philosophy of Right as the context for a sustained confrontation with the legal theorist Carl Schmitt. In this paper, I establish the context for Heidegger’s confrontation with Schmitt from 1933 to early 1935; I explain why Heidegger chose Hegel as the context for his discussion; and above all, I demonstrate how their various attempts to make sense of the seizure of power by the Nazis was combined with a systematic neglect of the pervasive violence of the times.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Philosophy, Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA 16802USA


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