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

The Experience of the Essence of the Human Being from His Determination -[Extract from]-§ 27. c) Mission and mandate -Precisely by virtue of mood, the human being is never an individual subject, but he stands always for-or against-one another, in a with-one-another. This is also valid when, as in longing, the other is not yet immediately there. The being-with-one-another of human beings is not in virtue of the fact that there are several human beings, but several human beings can only be in community, because being-human already means: attuned being-with-one-another, which is  not lost, if a  human being is alone. The exposedness creates for itself every time its form, its breadth, and its limits through labor, which, according to its essence, transports us into exposedness to the jointure of being liberated for work. Labor is not subsequently, for purposes of a better execution, dependent on the labor of others, but conversely, labor as fundamental comportment of the human being is the ground for the possibility of the being-with-one-another and being-for-one-another. Labor as such, even if it is done by one individual, transports the human being into the being-with-and-for-another. This transporting into the exposedness happens as the human being is set out beyond himself in tradition. The mission itself is in advance withdrawn from arbitrariness and obstinacy. (p.129)


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


Logic as the Question [1934], Heidegger Citations

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