For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Logic as the Question Concerning the Essence of Language

by Heidegger, Martin (2009)


This first English translation of Logik als die Frage nach dem Wesen der Sprache, volume 38 of Martin Heidegger’s Gesamtausgabe, contains novel ideas on logic and language that are important for anyone wishing to think beyond traditional views of these topics. Based on student transcripts of Heidegger’s lectures and manuscripts for a 1934 summer course, the work contains his first public reflection on the nature of language itself. Given shortly after Heidegger’s resignation to the rectorship of the University of Freiburg, the course also opens up fresh perspectives on his controversial involvement with the Nazi regime. Heidegger’s critical probing of logic involves metaphysics and poetry and intertwines essential questions concerning language as a world-forming power, the human being, history, and time. This work marks a milestone in Heidegger’s path of thinking as his first meditation on language as a primal event of being.

Key Passage

§ 24. The experience of time through the experience of our determination Yet, what does "determination" mean here? In our discussion, we use the expression "determination" in a clearly defined meaning-in a determinate meaning, we could have also said, "determinate," no longer comprehended as characterization of an arbitrary thing or concept. We want to give the word "determination" a fuller, more original sense. The word can be applied at will in everyday usage. We violate it. However, this violence with which philosophy uses words and deter-mines words belongs to its essence. Only in the eyes of the philistine and columnist is word-determination arbitrariness and violence. One does not see that precisely the veiling of language and the random use of words is  a much greater violence than a regulation of the meaning of a word arising from inner necessity, whereby it is not about a changing of a word as an empty garment, but about the essence of the matter. The word "determination," insofar as we talk about our determination, has a threefold meaning in [a] more original unity and belongingness. (p.106)


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


Logic as the Question [1934], Heidegger Citations

Links to Reference



How to contribute.