The politics of revelation : the philosophical bases of Heidegger's religious politics / by Christopher Rickey.
This study examines Heidegger's politics, in particular his commitment to National Socialism, by focusing on the philosophical bases and political consequences of Heidegger's attempt to totally transform modern society through a radical critique of Western metaphysics. Because metaphysics culminates in nihilism and alienation, which Heidegger understood as the death of God, Heidegger's critique is at heart an attempt to renew authentic religiosity. By combining elements appropriated from Luther, Meister Eckhart, Aristotle, and phenomenology, Heidegger wanted to lay the basis for a religious dimension to human life freed from the limitations that circumscribed its position in liberal society. These limitations arose as thinkers attempted to curb religious conflict in early modern times by dethroning religion from its authoritative role in society through modern science and the liberal principle of religious toleration. The result is a disenchantment of the public realm. In his effort to redivinize the public sphere, Heidegger attacks both principles: he offers a sustained critique of the metaphysical foundations of modern science and an attack on individualism and individual freedom central to liberalism. The positive result, which is summed up in his ideal of authenticity, is a peculiar mixture of intense, almost mystical religiosity and revolutionary socialism. This ideal is the basis for Heidegger's political philosophy and his personal commitment to National Socialism. Heidegger's politics are not a personal failing, but a failure in principles. His antinomian conception of authentic religiosity leads him to an apocalyptic vision of history and an ideal polity modeled on an Augustinian community of saints. In this religious ideal there is no space for consideration of the necessary limitations of human politics. By attempting such a radical transformation of modern society, Heidegger fails to attend these limitations. In effect, Heidegger recapitulates the sectarian path of utopianism and violence that grew up in the wake of Luther's theological revolution and that modern thought attempted to redress.
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