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Reading Leo StraussPolitics, Philosophy, Judaism$
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Steven B. Smith

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780226764023

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226763903.001.0001

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Destruktion or Recovery? On Strauss's Critique of Heidegger

Destruktion or Recovery? On Strauss's Critique of Heidegger

(p.108) Chapter Five Destruktion or Recovery? On Strauss's Critique of Heidegger
Reading Leo Strauss
University of Chicago Press

The one partial exception to Strauss's generally curt treatment of German philosophy is Martin Heidegger. He described how, upon hearing Heidegger in 1922, he slowly came to recognize that Heidegger was preparing a “revolution” in thought the likes of which had not been experienced since Hegel. Heidegger brought to the study of philosophy a “passion” for the problems which showed up the “lostness” and emptiness of the then-regnant academic orthodoxies, including that of his erstwhile dissertation adviser, the neo-Kantian philosopher Ernst Cassirer. The meaning of Heidegger's “radical historicism” was not void of political consequences. Heidegger was not the only thinker but certainly the greatest thinker to embrace Hitler's 1933 revolution. The “Heidegger problem” has become something of a public scandal, one that Strauss pointed to long ago. “One is bound to misunderstand Heidegger's thought radically,” he wrote, if one does not see its “intimate connection” to the events of 1933.

Keywords:   Leo Strauss, Martin Heidegger, German philosophy, political consequences

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