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

[Extract from §28. The blasting of the being-subject through the determination of the Volk]- e) The State as the historical being of a Volk -Because the being of the historical Dasein of the human being is grounded in temporality, that is, [in] care, therefore, the State is  essentially necessary-the State, not as an abstract, and not [as] derived from a right [that is] invented and relative to a timeless human nature that is in itself, but the State as the law of the essence of historical being, by virtue of whose decree the Volk first secures for itself historical duration, that is, the preservation of their mission and the struggle over its mandate. The State is the historical being of the Volk. The Volk is neither that spongy and jelly-like sentimentalism, as how it is today offered around often in a prosy manner, nor is the State only the present shut down form of organization, as it were, of a society. The State is only insofar and as long as the carrying out of the will of rule happens, which originates from mission and mandate and, conversely, becomes labor and work. The human being, the Volk, time, his-tory, being, the State-those are no abstracted concepts as objects for definition exercises, but the essential relationship is always an historical one, however, that means, self-deciding that futurally-has been. All overcoming of the genuine and non-genuine tradition must [go] in the crucible of the critique of historical resoluteness. That applies last but not least to the title that shall characterize the formation of our historical being, of "socialism." It means no mere changing of the economic mentality; it  does not mean a dreary egalitarianism and glorification of that which is inadequate. It does not mean the random pursuit of an aimless common welfare, but it means the care about the standards and the essential-jointure of our historical being, and it  wills, therefore, the hierarchy according to occupation and work, it  wills the untouchable honor of every labor, it  wills the unconditionality of service as the fundamental relationship with the inevitability of being. The questioning concerning our self-being originates from the essence of historical being as futurality, as care. For, this questioning is, as just we must see now, not the curiosity of the bystander; rather, questioning is in itself care of knowing. Knowing, however, is the labor of carrying through the truth of Dasein as one that is grasped and comprehended.  (p.136)


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.