For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Bremen and Freiburg Lectures: Insight Into That Which Is and Basic Principles of Thinking (Studies in Continental Thought)

by Heidegger, Martin; Mitchell, Andrew J J (2012)


This volume consists of two lecture series given by Heidegger in the 1940s and 1950s. The lectures given in Bremen constitute the first public lectures Heidegger delivered after World War II, when he was officially banned from teaching. Here, Heidegger openly resumes thinking that deeply engaged him with Hölderlin's poetry and themes developed in his earlier works. In the Freiburg lectures Heidegger ponders thought itself and freely engages with the German idealists and Greek thinkers who had provoked him in the past. Andrew J. Mitchell's translation allows English-speaking readers to explore important connections with Heidegger's earlier works on language, logic, and reality.

Key Passage

[Extract from Lecture I]-In an early text published from his manuscript remains, Karl Marx explains that “the entire so-called world history is nothing other than the production of humans by human labor, nothing other than the becoming nature of the human.” [On work note: I believe this to be from Der Historische Materialismus: Die Frühschriften] Many will repudiate this construal of world history and its underlying conception of the essence of the human.But no one can deny that today technology, industry, and economy authoritatively determine all actuality of the actual to be the labor of the self-production of the human. Yet with this assessment we already fall out of that dimension of thinking in which Marx’s expression just cited concerning world history as “the labor of the self-production of the human” moves about. For the word “labor” here does not mean mere activity and performance. The word speaks in the sense of Hegel’s concept of labor, which is thought as the basic trait ofthe dialectical process, by which the becoming of the actual unfolds and completes its actuality. That Marx, in opposition to Hegel, does not see the essence of actuality in absolute, selfconceiving spirit, but rather in the human producing itself and its means of living, this indeed brings Marx into the most extreme opposition to Hegel, but by this opposition Marx remains within Hegelian metaphysics; for life and the reign of actuality is above all the labor process as dialectic, i.e., as thinking, insofar as what is genuinely productive of everyproduction remains thinking, whether this thinking is taken up and accomplished as something speculative-metaphysical or scientific-technological, or a mishmash and oversimplification of the two. Every pro-duction is in itself already re-flection, is thinking. (p.90)


Heidegger, National Socialism, Twentieth Century, Production, Machination, Industrialisation, Marx, Hegel


Heidegger Citations



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