Heidegger, Philosophy, and Politics ― The Heidelberg Conference
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In February of 1988, philosophers Hans-Georg Gadamer, Jacques Derrida, and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe came together in Heidelberg before a large audience to discuss the philosophical and political implications of Martin Heidegger's thought. This event took place in the very amphitheater in which, more than fifty years earlier, Heidegger, as Rector of the University of Freiburg and a member of the Nazi Party, had given a speech entitled "The University in the New Reich." Heidegger's involvement in Nazism has always been, and will remain, an indelible scandal, but what is its real relation to his work and thought? And what are the responsibilities of those who read this work, who analyze and elaborate this thought? Conversely, what is at stake in the wholesale dismissal of this important but compromised twentieth century philosopher? In 1988, in the wake of the recent publication of Victor Farias's Heidegger and Nazism, and of the heated debates that ensued, these questions had become more pressing than ever. The reflections presented by three of the most prominent of Heidegger's readers, improvised in French and transcribed here, were an attempt to approach these questions before a broad public, but with a depth of knowledge and a complex sense of the questions at issue that were often lacking in the press at the time (and since...). Ranging over two days, and including exchanges with each other and with the audience, the discussions pursed by these major thinkers remain highly relevant today, especially following the publication of Heidegger's already notorious "Black Notebooks," which have added another chapter to the ongoing debates over this contested figure. The present volume recalls a highly charged moment in this history, while also drawing the debate toward its most essential questions.

Jacques Derrida was the single most influential voice in European philosophy of the last quarter of the twentieth century. His For Strasbourg; Athens, Still Remains; The Animal That Therefore I Am; Sovereignties in Question; and Deconstruction in a Nutshell have been published by Fordham University Press.

Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900-2002) was a major figure in twentieth-century philosophy and was particularly important in developing the field of hermeneutics. Among his many books, the best known is Truth and Method.

Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe was Professor of Philosophy at the Universite Marc Bloch, Strasbourg. His many books include Poetry as Experience; Typography: Mimesis, Philosophy, Politics; and, with Jean Luc Nancy, The Literary Absolute: The Theory of Literature in German Romanticism.

Jeff Fort is Associate Professor of French at the University of California, Davis. His previous translations include books by Maurice Blanchot, Jean Genet, Jacques Derrida, Jacques Roubaud, Jean-Luch Nancy and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe. He is the author of The Imperative to Write: Destitutions of the Sublime in Kafka, Blanchot, and Beckett (Fordham University Press, 2014).

Jean-Luc Nancy is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Universite Marc Bloch, Strasbourg, as well as a respected commentator on art and culture. His wide-ranging thought is developed in books including Listening; Dis-Enclosure: The Deconstruction of Christianity; Noli me Tangere: On the Raising of the Body; Corpus; and Corpus II: Writings on Sexuality, all published by Fordham University Press.