Nature, History, State: 1933-1934 (Athlone Contemporary European Thinkers)
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Nature, History, State: 1933-1934 presents the first complete English-language translation of Heidegger's seminar 'On the Essence and Concepts of Nature, History and State', together with full introductory material and interpretive essays by five leading thinkers and scholars: Robert Bernasconi, Peter Eli Gordon, Marion Heinz, Theodore Kisiel and Slavoj Žižek.
The seminar, which was held while Heidegger was serving as National Socialist rector of the University of Freiburg, represents important evidence of the development of Heidegger's political thought. The text consists of ten 'protocols' on the seminar sessions, composed by students and reviewed by Heidegger. The first session's protocol is a rather personal commentary on the atmosphere in the classroom, but the remainder have every appearance of being faithful transcripts of Heidegger's words, in which he raises a variety of fundamental questions about nature, history and the state. The seminar culminates in an attempt to sketch a political philosophy that supports the 'Führer state'. The text is important evidence for anyone considering the tortured question of Heidegger's Nazism and its connection to his philosophy in general.
way in which it is, if we want to assign it to some domain. The material concept thus presupposes the formal; it encompasses what satisfies the formal concept. How does nature relate to these two concepts? 24 NATURE, HISTORY, STATE The formal and material concepts of nature are grasped as one through  physis—natura—nature, which is what creates itself. Nothing can produce itself without being a something; nothing grows that is not a thing. Nature tells us something both about what its
political tradition. Where this nourishing, securing soil is lacking, even the best idea for a state cannot take root, grow from the sustaining womb of the people, and develop. Otto the Great based his empire on the prince–bishops by obliging them to service and knowledge in political and military matters. And Frederick the Great educated the Prussian nobility into guardians of his state. Bismarck oversaw this process of rooting his idea of the state in the firm, strong soil of political
unsurveyable and dangerous, but unavoidable for whoever truly questions. Human beings, who in accordance with their essence have to question, must expose themselves to the danger of the Nothing, of nihilism, in order to grasp the meaning of their Being by overcoming nihilism. We cannot explain the question of Being further here; we simply see that there is an essential difference between Being and beings, and that this difference is completely other than the difference between one being and
or accomplishment. The implementation of the will, in this sense, transforms people in proportion to the greatness of the effective will” (62). Thus, “The Führer state, as we have it, means the completion of the historical development: the actualization of the people in the leader” (64). The Volk, which has already been constituted by its relation to space as homeland, is first formed into a people in the highest and authentic sense, as a community of will, by the Führer and his powerful will. If
statement that openly conflicts with Rousseau’s view that the volonté générale is not merely the aggregate of individual wills). The genuine state as theorized in the protocols should not have been a “subordinate means to an end [dedicated to] the development of the personality in the liberal sense” (52). But it is this atomistic and liberalinstrumentalist state that is apparently responsible for the crisis of German modernity: The development began in the Renaissance, when the individual human