For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

The Heidegger controversy: A critical reader

by Heidegger, Martin; Wolin, Richard (1992)


This anthology is a significant contribution to the debate over the relevance of Martin Heidegger's Nazi ties to the interpretation and evaluation of his philosophical work. Included are a selection of basic documents by Heidegger, essays and letters by Heidegger's colleagues that offer contemporary context and testimony, and interpretive evaluations by Heidegger's heirs and critics in France and Germany.In his new introduction, "Note on a Missing Text," Richard Wolin uses the absence from this edition of an interview with Jacques Derrida as a springboard for examining questions about the nature of authorship and personal responsibility that are at the heart of the book.Richard Wolin is Professor of Modern European Intellectual History and Humanities at Rice University. He is the author of Walter Benjamin, The Politics of Being: The Political Thought of Martin Heidegger, and The Terms of Cultural Criticism: The Frankfurt School, Existentialism and Poststructuralism.

Key Passage

[Excerpt from National Socialist Education (January 22, 1934)]-Like these words "knowledge" and "Wissenschaft," the words "worker'' and "work," too, have a  transformed meaning and a  new sound. The "worker" is not, as Marxism claimed, a mere object of exploitation. The workers [Arbeiterstand] are not the class of the disinherited who are rallying for the general class struggle. But labor is also not simply the production of goods for others. Nor is labor simply the occasion and the means to earn a living. Rather: For us, "work" is  the title of every well-ordered action that is borne by the responsibility of the individual, the group, and the State and which is thus of service to the Volk. Work only exists where man's determination and perseverance are freely engaged in the assertion of will and the accomplishment of a  task; but there it exists everywhere. Therefore, all work is, as work, something spiritual [Geistiges], for it is founded in the free exercise of expert knowledge and in the competent understanding of one's task; that is: it is founded in authentic knowledge [eigentliches Wissen]. The accomplishment of a  miner is basically no less spiritual [geistig] than the activity of a scholar. Worker and work, as National Socialism understands these words, does not divide into classes, but binds and unites Volksgenossen and the social and occupational groups into the one great will of the State.  (p.59)


Heidegger, Germany, National Socialism, Nazi, Twentieth Century, National Socialist Education, Academia, Duty, Work Creation


National Socialist Education [1934], Heidegger Citations

Links to Reference



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