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Heidegger and Politics
The Ontology of Radical Discontent

£64.99

  • Date Published: November 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107081536

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  • In this fresh interpretation of Heidegger, Alexander Duff explains Heidegger's perplexing and highly varied political influence. Heidegger and Politics argues that Heidegger's political import is forecast by fundamental ambiguities about the status of politics in his thought. Duff explores how in Being and Time as well as earlier and later works, Heidegger analyzes 'everyday' human existence as both irretrievably banal but also supplying our only tenuous path to the deepest questions about human life. Heidegger thus points to two irreconcilable attitudes toward politics: either a total and purifying revolution must usher in an authentic communal existence, or else we must await a future deliverance from the present dispensation of Being. Neither attitude is conducive to moderate politics, and so Heidegger's influence tends towards extremism of one form or another, modified only by explicit departures from his thought.

    • Offers a fresh interpretation of Heidegger's work that will explain the connection between his influence and the details of his difficult thought
    • By responding to widespread confusion about the political implications of his work, the book shows the relevance of Heidegger's thought for contemporary evaluations of politics
    • Uses a jargon-free, carefully supported interpretation of the details of Heidegger's ontology
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Heidegger and Politics is both clearly written and theoretically illuminating - no mean feat when dealing with an author as obscure or allusive as Heidegger. Duff takes a subject that invites rhetorical posturing and digs deep into the philosopher's work to explain why it could inspire such different and incompatible political positions.' Bernard Yack, Lerman-Neubauer Professor of Democracy, Brandeis University, Massachusetts

    'Alexander Duff has written an original, thoughtful, well-researched study of the place of politics in Heidegger's thought, which sheds new light on this much-debated topic. It gives a careful exegesis of key passages of Being and Time and a few other writings with attention to their political implications. Although some other authors have attempted this, Duff has the most incisive and illuminating discussion that I have seen. His accounts of everydayness, inauthenticity, solicitude, anticipatory resoluteness, the nothing, and their relations to communal existence are outstanding.' Richard Velkley, Celia Scott Weatherhead Professor of Philosophy, Tulane University

    'This is an engaging, illuminating, and thoroughly enjoyable study of Heidegger. The author is manifestly a careful, sensitive reader of Heidegger's texts. Every one of the chapters presents compelling, lucid interpretations that shed new light on even the most familiar works, like Being and Time. The examination of Heidegger's earliest lecture courses in light of the question of the impossibility of philosophic ethics is especially rich and interesting.' Michael Ehrmantraut, St John's College, Santa Fe

    'Being a truly philosophic inquirer, Alexander Duff knows that neither the wilful evasion of acolytes nor the hysterical denunciation of enemies will suffice: we must seek instead to understand. Heidegger and Politics: The Ontology of Radical Discontent is the finest treatment known to me of the question of the political import of Heidegger's thought - and this means that it is also a profound examination of the dissatisfactions of late modernity.' Robert Bartlett, Behrakis Professor of Hellenic Political Studies, Boston College

    'In a manner that seeks neither to reduce Heidegger's thought to fascism nor to drive a wedge between that thought and the politics that ensues from it, Duff's study constitutes (to my mind) the first real engagement of Heidegger's thought of philosophical relevance for political scientists and theorists.' Jeffrey A. Bernstein, The Review of Politics

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107081536
    • length: 228 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. What's the matter with ethics? Ethics and the problem of theory
    2. Surpassing ethics: the formal indication of existence
    3. The ambiguous everyday: on the emergence of theory from practice
    4. The dictatorship of the they and the clearing of the everyday
    5. Disclosive occlusion and the promise of nihilism
    6. Heideggerian politics: the past is not dead, it's not even past.

  • Author

    Alexander S. Duff, College of the Holy Cross, Massachusetts
    Alexander S. Duff was educated in the humanities and history at Carleton University and received his PhD from the Department of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. He has held fellowships from the Tocqueville Program for Inquiry into Religion and American Public Life at the University of Notre Dame and from the Program for the Study of the Western Heritage at Boston College, and taught at Skidmore College and College of the Holy Cross. He writes widely in the history of political philosophy, and his publications on classical, modern, and contemporary political philosophy have appeared in both scholarly and popular publications.

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