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Heidegger’s Black Notebooks and the Logic of a History of Being

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Interpretations of the so-called Black Notebooks have emphasized the interaction between Heidegger’s philosophy, particularly his notion of a “history of being” (Seinsgeschichte), on the one hand, and his affiliation with National Socialism and his anti-Semitic views on the other. The paper proposes to understand this interaction as in part determined by the inherent logic of Heidegger’s ontological reasoning: Heidegger takes power (Macht), violence (Gewalt) and brutality (Brutalität) as the key for understanding his present day and turns to these phenomena as confirmation of the ontology he envisages at the time. But the notes published so far, ranging from 1931 to 1948 (Gesamtausgabe vols. 94–97), document Heidegger’s incapacity to assign to the events of these years a plausible position in his ontology. This failure deepens a trauma both personal and philosophical. Rather than reject the notion of a history of being altogether, I propose an alternative understanding of its logic motivated by Heidegger’s failure to bring his ontological project to the anticipated completion.

Affiliations: 1: Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg/Justus-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg


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