Martin Heidegger is widely regarded as one of the mostinfluential philosophers of the twentieth–century and his seminaltext Being and Time is considered one of the most significant textsin contemporary philosophy. Yet his name has also been mired incontroversy because of his affiliations with the Nazi regime, hisfailure to criticize its genocidal politics and his subsequentsilence about the holocaust. Now, according to Heidegger?s wishes,and to complete the publication of his multi–volume Complete Works,his highly controversial and secret ?Black Notebooks? have beenreleased to the public. These notebooks reveal the extent to whichHeidegger?s ?personal Nazism? was neither incidental noropportunistic, but part of his philosophical ethos. So, why wouldHeidegger, far from destroying them, allow these notebooks, whichcontain examples of this extreme thinking, to be published?
In this revealing new book, Peter Trawny, editor of Heidegger?scomplete works in German, confronts these questions and, by way ofa compelling study of his theoretical work, shows that Heideggerwas committed to a conception of freedom that is only beholden tothe judgement of the history of being; that is, that to be freemeans to be free from the prejudices, norms, or mores of one′stime. Whoever thinks the truth of being freely exposes themselvesto the danger of epochal errancy. For this reason, Heidegger′sdecision to publish his notebooks, including their anti–Jewishpassages, was an exercise of this anarchical freedom. In the courseof a wide–ranging discussion of Heidegger?s views on truth, ethics,the truth of being, tragedy and his relationship to other figuressuch as Nietzsche and Schmitt, Trawny provides a compellingargument for why Heidegger wanted the explosive material in hisBlack Notebooks to be published, whilst also offering an originaland provocative interpretation of Heidegger?s work.