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Heidegger’s National-Humanism

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Reading Derrida’s Geschlecht III

image of Research in Phenomenology

This paper is an attempt to think through Derrida’s newly discovered Geschlecht III, the third and missing installment of Derrida’s four part series on Heidegger and Geschlecht. I argue that Derrida’s reading of Heidegger in Geschlecht III needs to be situated within the philosophico-political context of Derrida’s 1984–85 seminar—given under the general title Philosophical Nationality and Nationalism—from which Geschlecht III is extracted. In the first part of the paper, I reconstruct Derrida’s general problematic of national-humanism as he lays it out in the opening sessions of the seminar, before arriving at his reading of Heidegger, who will be part of “a sequence of German national-philosophism,” as Derrida calls it. In the second part, the paper turns explicitly to Geschlecht III where, as I show, Derrida’s thoroughgoing denunciation of a national-humanism in Heidegger becomes all the more telling when seen through the theoretical matrix of the seminar.

Affiliations: 1: Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg


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