Studia Phaenomenologica

Volume 14, 2014

Place, Environment, Atmosphere

Tracy Colony
Pages 349-369

Bringing Philosophy Back to Life: Nietzsche and Heidegger’s Early Phenomenology

Most accounts of Heidegger’s relation to Nietzsche have traditionally focused on his famous Nietzsche lecture courses or upon his brief yet highly significant references to Nietzsche in Being and Time. However, with recent English translations of key lecture courses from Heidegger’s early Freiburg period it has become clear that during this time another distinct phase of Heidegger’s long and complex relation to Nietzsche can be identified. In this essay, I first chronicle Heidegger’s earliest references to Nietzsche in the period from 1909–1916. I then turn to Heidegger’s early Freiburg lecture courses and demonstrate that the proximity between Nietzsche and Heidegger’s understanding of phenomenology in this period was much greater than has traditionally been said. In conclusion, I argue that one of the most important examples of Heidegger’s appropriation of Nietzsche in this period can be seen in the concept of destruction which played a central role in Heidegger’s account of phenomenological methodology.