For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Heidegger on Machination, the Jewish Race, and the Holocaust"

by Fritsche, Johannes (2018)


In the Black Notebooks, Heidegger ascribes in 1938/9 to the Jewish race an empty rationality and calculative ability,? in his view the cause of its worldlessness. To assess this characterisation, I present Heidegger?s theories of history as a decline in Being and Time and in his later history of Being. For this purpose, I discuss his notions of Rechnen (reckoning), Machenschaft (machination), and Geviert (fourfold), several existentialia from Being and Time, and Heidegger?s identification of modern machination and modern technology. Furthermore, I examine Heidegger?s attitude toward the Jews and the Holocaust. I present his alignment of the unconcealment of modernity and the Jewish race, and compare his theory of machination with the texts Positionality (1949) and The Question concerning Technology (1954). Heidegger?s notes about the Jews in the Black Notebooks after 1944 confirm that he tried ?to silence Auschwitz silently, as I already argued in a paper from 1995.

Key Passage

Heidegger means by Rechnen any objectification of beings for the sake of using, dominating, or exploiting them. After his disappointment with the National Socialism of his day around 1937/8, Heidegger presents a theory of Machenschaft (machination) according to which reckoning has been present in all phases of Western philosophy and history, from the beginning in the preSocratics onwards. Prior to modernity, however, it was always subordinated to, or embedded in, practices and modes of unconcealment or truth different from itself, while in modernity it has become the exclusive truth: a step-by-step emancipation of reckoning as a history of decline. (p.312)


Heidegger, Technology, Machination, Machenschaft, Modernity, Judaism


Technology, On Heidegger

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