Who is Martin Heidegger?June 26, 2021
German philosopher known as one of the leading figures of existential philosophy.
He was born on September 26, 1889 in the state of Baden. He was brought up as a person inclined towards religion and philosophy from his childhood. He became the subject of discussion not only with his philosophical works, but also with his life and political attitudes in various periods.
While his philosophical competence and importance are undeniable, he has always been the bearer of a troubled relationship due to his political positions, which often overshadowed the full evaluation of his philosophical work.
He studied Catholic theology and Christian philosophy at the University of Freiburg, and in 1914 he became notable for his first work and doctoral thesis, “Judgmental Theory in Psychology”. In 1923 he became a professor at the University of Marburg. “Being and Time” was published in 1927, and since its publication, it has been influential not only in terms of existential philosophy, but also in the context of all philosophical discussions in the 20th century. Here Heidegger criticizes the entire tradition of Western Philosophy as being metaphysical, after which post-modern philosophy would reevaluate this argument on other levels.
Heidegger joined the Nazis in 1933, when the Nazis came to power. During this period, he became rector at the University of Freiburg. Heidegger’s policy during this period has always been the subject of debate and cast a shadow over the evaluation of his work. He was expelled from the university in 1945 for joining the Nazis, but was then able to return to the university in 1952. The fact that he later said that he was wrong did not end the shadows that fell on him, however, the value of his theoretical work always preserved itself despite this and preserved its important place in terms of philosophy.
For Heidegger, there is a distinction between philosophy and science. Philosophy is a thought that questions the meaning of existence. Thought examines the a priori conditions of existence that appear in the event itself. Emotions accompany thought in understanding existence. This emotion, which affects the understanding of existence of the modern age, is boredom. The job of science is to question facts. Thought does not seek certainty in the sense that science seeks.
It adopts the idea of highlighting the “truth” meaning of existence, which Heidegger found in Aristotle. He thinks of the “truth of being” as revealing (aletheia) from secrecy. Heidegger adopts Husserl’s tendency to “go to the things themselves” and the idea that phenomena can give us not only appearances but also essence through a priori, categorical intuition.
For him, being already gives itself in Dasein’s understanding. For this reason, the main problem of phenomenology is not to find the right way, method of seeing existence, as Husserl said; is to investigate how the “existing” that appears to us emerge. Another important point where he differs from Husserl is that he believes that phenomenology should be removed from being a philosophy of consciousness and reconsidered in a more original, more primitive way.
According to Heideger, “What is the meaning of being?” is an important question not asked in traditional ontology. To answer this question, historical burdens that distort experiences about being must be removed (destruction). Dasein is a being that understands being and asks the meaning of being. While he questions the meaning of being, he also questions himself as an being. He is distinguished from other beings by being able to ask and understand who he is and his possibilities.
He is aware that he resides in this world. Unlike other beings in this world, Dasein has existential possibilities (understanding, feeling, speaking). Dasein relates to being by understanding its possibilities. Solving what we understand today and why we understand it that way requires us to enter the history of existence, where understandings of existence are historically intertwined and developed thanks to each other. Destruction arises from this necessity.
Heidegger thinks that it is necessary to save man’s relationship with being from subjectivity. Although Being and Time is a revolt against the philosophy of the subject, Heidegger, after completing it, will still find his starting point “subjective”, as it is based on the Dasein understanding of Being and Time. It attempts to transcend this subjectivity by starting from the history of existence. The reason why a destruction is needed in order to answer the question of the meaning of being is the need to relate to its historical interpretation while trying to understand a philosophical concept. Because each age names the being with a different name and tries to understand the being within the framework of this name.
Thus, while Heidegger shakes his philosophical tradition, on the other hand, he makes us feel that this historicity is a unity in a continuity. This unity cannot be considered complete progress. According to him, the age we live in is the “technology age”, in this age, existence is understood as energy that can be stored and stored to be used when necessary.