The third of three autumn 2015 ‘Tetley Talks’ on the theme of ‘Civilization and its Discontents’
Martin Heidegger is considered one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century. Though he’d been a proud, unapologetic member of the Nazi party, his thought has resonated with, and influenced, the left just as much as the right. Heidegger’s main claim was that Western metaphysics since the ancient Greeks had developed only a very superficial understanding of what it is to be. Heidegger set out to create a way of thinking capable of grasping the very nature of existence, and, in doing so, revolutionised philosophy.
However, his work didn’t just provide a way of grasping the nature of existence; it also provided a critique of what he saw as the human-centred, over-rational and instrumental trajectory of modernity. And it is this profound rejection and critique of modernity, argues Tim Black, that continues to resonate with, and, thanks to Heidegger’s Nazi sympathies, trouble, many people today.