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Western Philosophers
20th-century philosophy
Martin Heidegger
Name: Martin Heidegger
Birth: September 26, 1889 (Meßkirch, Germany)
Death: May 26, 1976 (Meßkirch, Germany)
School/tradition: Phenomenology, Existentialism
Main interests
Metaphysics, Epistemology, Greek philosophy, technology, Ontology
Notable ideas
Dasein, Gestell
Influences Influenced
Pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Husserl |
Jean-Paul Sartre, Jacques Derrida, Maurice Merleau-Ponty Michel Foucault

Martin Heidegger (September 26, 1889May 26, 1976) was a German philosopher. He influenced many other major philosophers, and his own students at various times included Hans-Georg Gadamer, Hans Jonas, Emmanuel Levinas, Hannah Arendt, Xavier Zubiri and Karl Löwith. Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe also studied his work more or less closely. Beyond his relation to phenomenology, Heidegger is regarded as a major or indispensable influence on existentialism, deconstruction, hermeneutics and postmodernism. He attempted to reorient Western philosophy away from metaphysical and epistemological and toward ontological questions, that is, questions concerning the meaning of being, or what it means to be. Much controversy has surrounded his status as a prominent academic member of the Nazi Party.


Heidegger was born in a rural Roman Catholic family in Meßkirch, Germany. His father was the sexton of the village church. His family could not afford to send him to university and he entered a Jesuit seminary instead. After studying Theology at the University of Freiburg from 1909 to 1911, he switched to Philosophy, receiving his PhD in 1914 with a thesis on Psychologism, and the venia legendi in Philosophy with a Habilitation thesis on Duns Scotus in 1916. 1916-17, he was an unsalaried Privatdozent, then served as a soldier during the last year of World War I, working behind a desk and never leaving Germany. After the war, he served as a salaried senior assistant to Edmund Husserl at the University of Freiburg until 1923. During this time, he built his mountain cabin, the Hütte, in Todtnauberg in the nearby Schwarzwald. In 1923, he was elected to an extraodinary Professorship (full professor but without a Chair) in Philosophy at the equally reputable but very Protestant University of Marburg. At Marburg his colleagues included Rudolf Bultmann, Ernst Friedländer, Nicolai Hartmann, and Paul Natorp, and his notable students, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Karl Löwith, Gerhard Krüger, Leo Strauss, and Hannah Arendt. When Husserl retired in 1928, Heidegger, having published Sein und Zeit the previous year, accepted Freiburg's election to be his successor, in spite of a counter-offer by Marburg. Heidegger remained at Freiburg for the rest of his life, declining a number of later offers including one from Berlin, the most prestigious German university of the day. In 1933, he became a member of the NSDAP (Nazi party), to which he had been close since 1931, and was appointed Rector of the University. His inaugural address, his "Rektoratsrede," became notorious. He resigned the Rectorship in 1934, but never resigned from the Nazi party. In 1945/47, the French Occupation Authority forbad him to teach because of his Nazi past, a decision rescinded in 1951 when he became Professor emeritus with all privileges. He then taught on a regularly between 1951 and 1958, and until 1967 by invitation. He died in 1976, was given a Roman Catholic funeral, and is buried in the Meßkirch cemetery.

Personal and Family Life

In 1917, Heidegger married Elfriede née Petri, in a Protestant wedding. She has been blamed for being a negative influence on him, by virtue of her strong anti-Semitic and Nazi sympathies. Heidegger had several extramarital affairs, including two very important ones with Jewish women who were his students, Hannah Arendt and Elisabeth Blochmann, with whom he remained in contact for the rest of his life (except during World War II). Only with the recent publication of the letters between Martin and Elfriede Heidegger in 2005 did it become known that the Heidegger marriage was an "open" one, in that Elfriede likewise had affairs, including one with the family doctor who fathered her first son, Hermann Heidegger.


Heidegger is one of the most significant philosophers of the 20th century, his only rival being, perhaps, Ludwig Wittgenstein. Heidegger's ideas have penetrated into many areas. His discussion of ontology has led to his being often cited as one of the founders of existentialism and his ideas inspired major philosophical work, e.g., Sartre, who adopts many of Heidegger's ideas (although Heidegger insisted that Sartre misunderstood him). His philosophical work was taken up throughout Germany, France, and Japan and has gained, since the 1970s at least, a fair following in North America as well. Heidegger's work was scorned and dismissed, however, by many of his contemporaries, such as the Vienna Circle, Theodor Adorno, and Anglo-American philosophers such as Bertrand Russell and Alfred Ayer.

Heidegger's refusal to recognize fashionable concepts such as the fact-value distinction, the complete absence of logic and analysis from his thinking, his criticisms of modern science and technology, and his refusal to include an "ethical" dimension to his theory, and claiming that doing so amounted to a fundamental misunderstanding of his thought, often puzzled and confused philosophers. Attacking him seemed like the only thing to do, especially since his private behavior was morally and politically questionable.


Heidegger was influenced as a teenager by Aristotle mediated through Christian theology. The concept of being, in this traditional sense, dating back to Plato, was his first exposure to an idea he would plant at the core of his most famous work Being and Time (1927). He was originally a phenomenologist. To oversimplify, phenomenologists approach philosophy by attempting to perceive experience unmediated by prior knowledge and abstract theoretical assumptions. Edmund Husserl was its founder and major exponent. In fact, Heidegger studied under Husserl and it was this that persuaded him to become a phenomenologist. Heidegger became interested in the question of being (or what it means to be). His famous work Being and Time is characterized as phenomenological ontology. The idea of being dates back to Parmenides and has traditionally served as one of the key thoughts of Western philosophy. The question of being was revived by Heidegger after being eclipsed by the metaphysical tradition from Plato to Descartes, and more recently in the Enlightenment. He tried to ground being in time, and thus discover its real essence or meaning, that is, its intelligibility for us.

Thus Heidegger began where being began — in ancient Greek thought, resurrecting a lost, under-appreciated issue in contemporary philosophy. Heidegger's great opening was to take Plato seriously again, and at the same time undermine the entire Platonic world by challenging the core of Platonism — treating being not as timeless and transcendent, but as immanent in time and history. This is partially why Platonists regard Heidegger as a great thinker, even if they disagree with his analysis of Being and conception of Platonic thought. Although Heidegger was a supremely creative and original thinker, he also borrowed heavily from Friedrich Nietzsche and Søren Kierkegaard, the latter of whom goes mostly unacknowledged by Heidegger. Heidegger can be compared to Aristotle, who took Plato's dialogues and systematically presented them as treatises and concepts. Similarly, Heidegger extracted Nietzsche's unpublished fragments and interpreted them as the culminating expression of Western metaphysics. Heidegger's published lectures during 1936 on Nietzsche’s Will to Power as Art are less scholarly commentaries than original philosophical works in their own right. Heidegger's concepts of angst and Da-sein draw on Kierkegaard's notions of anxiety, the importance of subjective relation to the truth, existence in the face of death, the temporality of existence, and the importance of passionate affirmation of one's individual being-in-the-world.

Being and Time

Main article: Being and Time

Being and Time (German title: Sein und Zeit), published in 1927, is Heidegger's most influential work. This epochal book was his first significant academic work, and earned him a professorship at Freiburg University. He subsequently changed his views on several points made in the book. It is a touchstone of Continental philosophy, a groundbreaking investigation of the concepts of Being & Da-sein (literally "there being" and often translated as "being-there"), as these relate to ontology and phenomenology. Although Heidegger distanced himself from existentialism, Being and Time strongly influenced existentialist thinkers like Jean-Paul Sartre.

Later works

Although Heidegger claimed that all of his writings concerned a single question, the question of being, in the years after the publication of Being and Time the focus of his work gradually changed. This change is often referred to as Heidegger's Kehre (turn). In his later works, Heidegger turns from "doing" to "dwelling." He focuses less on the way in which the structures of being are revealed in everyday behavior and in the experience of Angst, and more on the way in which behavior itself depends on a prior "openness to being." The essence of being human is the maintenance of this openness. (The difference between Heidegger's early and late works is more a difference of emphasis than a radical break like that between the early and late works of Wittgenstein, but it is important enough to justify a division of the Heideggerian corpus into "early" (roughly, pre-1930) and "late" writings.)

Heidegger opposes this openness to the "will to power" of the modern human subject, who subordinates beings to his own ends rather than letting them "be what they are." Heidegger interprets the history of western philosophy as a brief period of authentic openness to being in the time of the pre-Socratics, especially Parmenides, Heraclitus, and Anaximander, followed by a long period increasingly dominated by nihilistic subjectivity, initiated by Plato and culminating in Nietzsche.

In the later writings, two recurring themes are poetry and technology. Heidegger sees poetry as a preeminent way in which beings are revealed "in their being." The play of poetic language (which is, for Heidegger, the essence of language itself) reveals the play of presence and absence that is being itself. Heidegger focuses especially on the poetry of Hölderlin.

Against the revealing power of poetry, Heidegger sets the force of technology. The essence of technology is the conversion of the whole universe of beings into an undifferentiated "standing reserve" (Bestand) of energy available for any use to which humans choose to put it. The standing reserve represents the most extreme nihilism, since the being of beings is totally subordinated to the will of the human subject. Indeed, Heidegger described the essence of technology as Gestell, or enframing. Heidegger does not unequivocally condemn technology; he believes that its increasing dominance might make it possible for humanity to return to its authentic task of the stewardship of being. Nevertheless, an unmistakable agrarian nostalgia permeates much of his later work.

Heidegger's important later works include Vom Wesen der Wahrheit ("On the Essence of Truth," 1930), Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes ("The Origin of the Work of Art," 1935), Bauen Wohnen Denken ("Building Dwelling Thinking," 1951), and Die Frage nach der Technik ("The Question of Technology," 1953) and Was heisst Denken? ("What Is Called Thinking?" 1954).

Influences and difficulties of French reception

Heidegger, like Husserl, is an explicitly acknowledged influence on existentialism, despite his explicit disavowal and objection, in texts such as the "Letter on Humanism," of the importation of key elements of his work into existentialist contexts. While Heidegger was banned from university teaching for a period shortly after the war on account of his activities as Rector of Freiburg, he developed a number of contacts in France who continued to teach his work and brought their students to visit him in Todtnauberg (see, for example, Jean-François Lyotard's brief account in "Heidegger and 'the jews': A Conference in Vienna and Freiburg," which discusses a Franco-German conference held in Freiburg in 1947, a first step in bringing together French and German students after the War). Heidegger subsequently made efforts to keep abreast of developments in French philosophy by way of recommendations from Jean Beaufret, who was an early French translator, and Lucien Braun.

Deconstruction as it is generally understood (i.e., as French and Anglo-American phenomena profoundly rooted in Heidegger's work, with limited general exposure in a German context until the 1980s) came to Heidegger's attention in 1967 by way of Lucien Braun's recommendation of Jacques Derrida's work (Hans-Georg Gadamer was present at an initial discussion and indicated to Heidegger that Derrida's work came to his attention by way of an assistant). Heidegger expressed interest in meeting Derrida personally after the latter sent him some of his work. (There was discussion of a meeting in 1972, but this did not happen.) Heidegger's interest in Derrida is said by Braun to have been considerable (as is evident in two letters, of 29 September 1967 and 16 May 1972, from Heidegger to Braun). Braun also brought to Heidegger's attention the work of Michel Foucault. Foucault's relation to Heidegger is a matter of considerable difficulty; Foucault acknowledged Heidegger as the philosopher whom he read but never wrote about. (For more on this see Penser à Strasbourg, Jacques Derrida, et al, which includes reproductions of both letters and an account by Braun, "À mi-chemin entre Heidegger et Derrida").

One feature that garnered initial interest in a French context (which propagated rather quickly to scholars of French literature and philosophy working in American universities) was Derrida's efforts to displace the understanding of Heidegger's work prevalent in France from the period of the ban against Heidegger teaching in German universities, which amounts in part to rejecting almost wholesale the influence of Jean-Paul Sartre and existentialist terms. In Derrida's view, deconstruction is a tradition inherited via Heidegger (the French term "déconstruction" is a translation of Heidegger's "Destruktion" - literally "destruction"), whereas Sartre's interpretation of Dasein and other key Heideggerian terms is overly psychologistic and (ironically) anthropocentric, consisting of a radical misconception of the limited number of Heidegger's texts commonly studied in France up to that point (namely Being and Time, What is Metaphysics?, and Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics). Derrida, on the other hand, is at times presented as an ultra-orthodox "French Heidegger," to such an extent that he, his colleagues, and his former students are made to go proxy for Heidegger's worst (political) mistakes, despite ample evidence that the reception of Heidegger's work by later practitioners of deconstruction is anything but doctrinaire. The work of Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe may be taken as exemplary in this regard and was often commended as such by Derrida, who further contrasted Lacoue-Labarthe's extended work on Heidegger with Foucault's silence.

Having earlier mentioned the contributions of Derrida, Lacoue-Labarthe, and Lyotard to scholarship on Heidegger and National Socialism, it is worth noting that Heidegger's relation to the Holocaust and Nazism was the subject of great and occasionally fractious debate across various "deconstructions". These included the extent to which specific practitioners of deconstruction could entirely do without Heideggerian deconstruction (as Lyotard in particular may have wished) or were - rather - obliged to further (and in the cases of many mis- and uninformed criticisms, recall) already extensive criticisms of Heidegger which considerably predated (in the case of Derrida, by decades) the broad recognition of Heidegger's activities as a National Socialist. The latter were precipitated by press attention to the Víctor Farías book "Heidegger et le nazisme" (Farias was an ex-student of Heidegger) and extensive treatments of the Holocaust and its implications. These included for example, the proceedings of the first conference dedicated to Derrida's work, published as "Les Fins de l'Homme" (the essay from which that title was taken), Derrida's "Feu la cendre/cio' che resta del fuoco", or the studies on Celan by Lacoue-Labarthe and Derrida which shortly preceded the detailed studies of Heidegger's politics published in and after 1987.


Heidegger's importance to the world of continental philosophy (a subject he largely created, there being no distinction between analytical and continental philosophy prior to him) is probably unsurpassed. His reception among analytic philosophers, however, is quite another story. Saving a moderately favorable review in Mind by a young Gilbert Ryle of Being and Time shortly after its publication, Heidegger's analytic contemporaries (which was still young, but already quite sharply delineated from other branches of philosophy) generally regarded both the content, if any, and the style in which he delivered it, as examples of the worst possible way of doing philosophy.

The analytic tradition values clarity of expression, whereas Heidegger thought that "making itself intelligible was suicide for philosophy." Apart from the charge of obscurantism, analytic philosophers generally considered the actual content that could be gleaned from Heidegger's work to be either trivially false, non-verifiable or uninteresting. This view has largely survived, and Heidegger is still derided by most analytical philosophers, who deem his work to have been disastrous for philosophy, in that a clear line can be traced from it to most varieties of postmodern thinking. Others have accused Heidegger of having an 'illusory' ontology and have decried his influence on subsequent philosophy.

Heidegger and Nazi Germany

Heidegger joined the Nazi Party on May 1, 1933, before being appointed Rector of the University of Freiburg. He resigned the Rectorship in April 1934. During his time as Rector, Freiburg denied Heidegger's former teacher Husserl, born a Jew and an adult Lutheran convert, access of the university library, invoking the Nazi racial cleansing laws. Heidegger also removed the dedication to Husserl from Being and Time when it was reissued in 1941, later claiming he did so because of pressure from his publisher, Max Niemeyer. Additionally, when Heidegger's Introduction to Metaphysics (based on lectures given in 1935) was published in 1953, he declined to remove a reference to the "inner truth and greatness of this movement [die innere Wahrheit und Größe dieser Bewegung]," i.e. National Socialism. Instead of deleting or altering the text, he added the parenthetical gloss, "(namely, the confrontation of planetary technology and modern humanity) (nämlich [die] Begegnung der planetarisch bestimmten Technik und des neuzeitlichen Menschen)." Many readers, notably Jürgen Habermas, came to interpret this ambiguous remark as evidence of his continued commitment to National Socialism.

Critics further cite Heidegger's affair with the Jew Hannah Arendt, while she was his doctoral student at the University of Marburg. This affair took place in the 1920s, some time before Heidegger's involvement in Nazism, but it did not end when she moved to Heidelberg to continue with Karl Jaspers. She later spoke on his behalf at his denazification hearings. Jaspers spoke against him at these same hearings, suggesting he would have a detrimental influence on German students because of his powerful teaching presence. Arendt very cautiously resumed their friendship after the war, despite or even because of the widespread contempt for Heidegger and his political sympathies, and despite his being forbidden to teach for some years.

Der Spiegel interview

Some years later, hoping to quiet controversy, Heidegger gave an interview to Der Spiegel magazine, in which he agreed to discuss his political past provided that the interview be published posthumously. It should be noted that Heidegger extensively edited, at his insistance, the published version of the interview. In that interview, Heidegger's defense of his Nazi involvement runs in two tracks: first, he argued that there was no alternative, saying that he was trying to save the university (and science in general) from being politicized and thus had to compromise with the Nazi administration. Second, he saw an "awakening" ("Aufbruch") which might help to find a "new national and social approach". After 1934, he said, he would (should?) have been more critical of the Nazi government. Heidegger's answers to some questions are evasive. For example, when he talks about a "national and social approach" of national socialism, he links this to Friedrich Naumann. But Naumann's "national-sozialer Verein" was not at all national socialist, but liberal. Heidegger seems to have deliberately created this confusion. Also, he alternates quickly between his two lines of arguments, overlooking any contradictions. And his statements often tend to take the form "others were much more Nazi than me" and "the Nazis did bad things to me, too" which, while true, miss the point. The Der Spiegel interviewers also did not bring up Heidegger's 1949 quote where he compares engineered food production to the Holocaust ("essentially the same"); in fact, they were not in possession of most of the evidence now known for Heidegger's Nazi sympathies. For more on this notorious interview and its aftermath, see "Only a God Can Save Us," Der Spiegel interview with Heidegger (1966) and Jürgen Habermas, "Work and Weltanschauung: The Heidegger Controversy from a German Perspective." translated by John McCumber, Critical Inquiry 15 (Winter 1989): 431-56.

Obligations and unsplendid silence: Celan at "Todtnauberg"

Shortly after giving the Spiegel interview and following Celan's lecture at Freiburg, Heidegger hosted Paul Celan at his chalet at Todtnauberg. The two walked in the woods. Celan impressed Heidegger with his knowledge of botany (also evident in his poetry), and Heidegger is thought to have spoken about elements of his press interview. Celan signed Heidegger's guest book.

In his Poetry as Experience, Lacoue-Labarthe advanced the argument that, although Celan's poetry was deeply informed by Heidegger's philosophy, Celan was long aware of Heidegger's association with the Nazi party and therefore fundamentally circumspect toward the man and transformative in his reception of his work. Celan was nonetheless willing to meet Heidegger (although he may not have been willing to be photographed with him or to contribute to Festschriften honoring Heidegger's work). Heidegger was a professed admirer of Celan's writing, although he did not attend to it as Hölderlin or Trakl (neither did he attend to Celan as a Jewish poet working within that German tradition). "Todtnauberg", however, seems to hold out the unrealized possibility of a profound rapprochement between their work, albeit on the condition that Heidegger break a silence that virtually blanketed his work to the end (Lacoue-Labarthe has commented on the insufficiency of Heidegger's one known remark about the gas chambers, made in 1949). In this respect Heidegger's work was perhaps redeemable for Celan, even if that redemption or what need was had for it was never transacted between the two men. Lest one implicitly take this as Celan simply demanding an apology of Heidegger (such a scenario seems simplistic, the more so given that neither was given to simplism), there are reasonable grounds to argue that it was (and still is) at least as important to specify how the Nazi period is das Unheil (disaster, calamity) (which is to say: specificity as to a great deal more than counting the dead). What compelled Heidegger to write about poetry, technology, and truth ought to have compelled him to write about the German disaster, all the more so because, on the basis of his thought, Heidegger attributed an "inner greatness" to the movement that brought about that disaster.

Lacoue-Labarthe and Jacques Derrida have both commented extensively on Heidegger's corpus, and both have identified an idiomatically Heideggerian National Socialism that persisted until the end. It is perhaps of greater importance that Lacoue-Labarthe and Derrida, following Celan to a degree, also believed Heidegger capable of a profound criticism of Nazism and the horrors it brought forth. They consider Heidegger's greatest failure not to be his involvement in the National Socialist movement but his "silence on the extermination" (Lacoue-Labarthe) and his refusal to engage in a thorough deconstruction of Nazism beyond laying out certain of his considerable objections to party orthodoxies and (particularly in the case of Lacoue-Labarthe) their passage through Nietzsche, Hölderlin, and Richard Wagner, all taken to be susceptible to Nazi appropriation. It would be reasonable to say that both Lacoue-Labarthe and Derrida regarded Heidegger as capable of confronting Nazism in this more radical fashion and have themselves undertaken such work on the basis of this. (One ought to note in due course the questions Derrida raised in "Desistance," calling attention to Lacoue-Labarthe's parenthetical comment: "(in any case, Heidegger never avoids anything)").


Heidegger's involvement with the Nazi movement, and his failure to regret or apologize for having done so, complicated many of his friendships and continues to complicate the reception of his work. It is debatable whether Heidegger was antisemitic or whether he was taken in by charismatic Nazi propaganda; nevertheless, he clearly sympathized with certain elements of Nazism. Whether this in any way resulted from his philosophy is still contested. It has also been noted that many parts of "Sein und Zeit" can be read as anti-democratic, anti-modernist, and anti-liberal, e.g. the condemnation of the "lordship of the they" (Herrschaft des Man), the "chatter" (Gerede) and the Dasein's Verfallenheit (roughly, being-fallen-to) the world. However these criticisms misunderstand Heidegger. Heidegger took pains to ensure that his use of terms like "Verfallenheit" were not interpreted as having negative implications. He states this explicitly in the opening paragraph of section 38 of "Being and Time".

The possibility that Heidegger's affiliation with the Nazi party was a consequence of his philosophy would suffice for many to discredit him as a philosopher. As Jean-François Lyotard remarked, the formula becomes "if a Nazi, then not a great thinker" or, on the other hand, "if a great thinker, then not a Nazi".

Further reading

There is a large secondary literature on Heidegger's philosophy, much of it not in English. Accessible commentaries on Being and Time include

  • Hubert Dreyfus, Being-in-the-World
  • Theodore Kisiel, The Genesis of Heidegger's Being and Time
  • Mulhall, Stephen, Heidegger and Being and Time
  • Reiner Schürmann, Heidegger on Being and Acting: From Principles to Anarchy.

By far the best and most even-handed biography of Heidegger, and also perhaps the best introduction to his thought, is

  • Rüdiger Safranski's Heidegger. Between Good and Evil ,
  • Karl-Heinz Volkmann-Schluck, Die Philosophie Martin Heideggers, Würzburg 1996

the English translation of his Ein Meister aus Deutschland (the title alludes to Paul Celan's "Todesfuge").

More about Heidegger's political history can be found in

  • Victor Farías's 1987 book, Heidegger and Nazism.

Farias' arguments are controversial in many philosophical circles, which also contest most of his conclusions. Less controversial examinations of the relation between Heidegger's politics and philosophy are:

  • Dominique Janicaud, The Shadow of That Thought.
  • Ott, Hugo, 1993. Martin Heidegger: A political life. Translated by Allan Blunden. Basic Books.
  • Hans Sluga, Heidegger's Crisis: Philosophy & Politics in Nazi Germany.
  • Faye, Emmanuel, 2005, Heidegger, l'introduction du nazisme dans la philosophie. Autour des seminaires inedits de 1933-35.

Related questions have been taken up from a philosophical perspective by (among others)

  • Bourdieu in The Political Ontology of Martin Heidegger, and
  • Derrida in Of Spirit,
  • Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe in Typography
  • Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Heidegger, Art, and Politics: The Fiction of the Political trans. Chris Turner (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1990) and
  • Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Poetry as Experience,
  • Lyotard in Heidegger and "the Jews".

The role of Heidegger's influence in France has been repeatedly documented. See

  • Dominique Janicaud, Heidegger en France, 2 vols. [Paris: Albin Michel, 2001]
  • Bernhard Waldenfels, Phänomenologie in Frankreich, [Frankfurt: Suhrkamp Vlg, 1983].

Also cited above:



Heidegger's collected works are published by Vittorio Klostermann, Heidegger's house press, in Frankfurt am Main. It was started already by Heidegger himself and is not completed yet. There are four series, (I) Publications, (II) Lectures, and (III) Unpublished material, lectures, and notes, and (IV), Hinweise und Aufzeichnungen.

Selected Works

  • Sein und Zeit (1927). Translated as Being and Time.
  • Kant und das Problem der Metaphysik (1929). Translated as Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics.
  • Einführung in die Metaphysik (1935, published 1953). Translated as Introduction to Metaphysics.
  • Beiträge zur Philosophie (Vom Ereignis) (1936-1938, published 1989). Translated as Contributions to Philosophy (From Enowning).
  • Holzwege (1950). Translated as Off the Beaten Track.
  • Der Satz vom Grund (1955-56). Translated as The Principle of Reason.
  • Identität und Differenz (1955-57). Translated as Identity and Difference.
  • Gelassenheit (1959). Translated as Discourse On Thinking.
  • Unterwegs zur Sprache (1959). Translated as On the Way To Language with the omission of the essay Die Sprache (Language) by arrangement with Herr Heidegger.
  • Question Concerning Technology [1]


  • A 2004 film, The Ister, is based on Heidegger's 1942 lectures on Friedrich Hölderlin, and features Jean-Luc Nancy, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Bernard Stiegler, and Hans-Juergen Syberberg. * Official site
  • A 1979 film, Being There, is based upon a political, satirical 1971 novel by Jerzy Kosiński, and is a comedic spoof of Heidegger's notions of Dasein (Being There) and getting back to one's roots (our forgetfulness of Being). The film stars Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Melvyn Douglas, Jack Warden, Richard A. Dysart and Richard Basehart.

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