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Philosophy Today

Volume 59, Issue 3, Summer 2015

Tere Vadén
Pages 475-505

Good Revolutions Gone Bad
Žižek’s Critique and Praise of Heidegger’s Nazism

Martin Heidegger and Slavoj Žižek represent the two major anti-liberal European revolutions of the twentieth century, the Nazi and the October revolutions. Both revolutions ended badly, but neither Heidegger nor Žižek retreats from the revolutionary position, simply because it is an indelible part of their philosophy, where the finitude of the world and human being necessitate a partisan truth. By reintroducing the concept of the subject, Žižek wants to present a correction that cures Heidegger’s politics. Unfortunately, the resurrection relies on a sleight of hand: the subject to be reintroduced tries to be at the same time ahistorical and leftist. Žižek finds in Heidegger’s reading of Anaximander signs of ahistorical subjectivity, but this interpretation is based on a misconstrual of Heidegger’s notion of alêtheia. On the other hand, by analysing Heidegger’s two famous passages mentioning the extermination camps, we find the factual blind-spots in Heidegger’s ontological gaze.

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