Martin Heidegger was an ordinary Nazi and a loyal member of the provincial petty bourgeoisie. He was also a seminal thinker of the Continental tradition and one of the twentieth century’s most important philosophers. How are we to make sense of this dual life? Should we factor Heidegger’s domestic and political associations into our understanding of his thought, or should we treat his intellectual work independently of his abhorrent politics? How does any thinker reconcile the mundane with the ideal or the pursuit of philosophical inquiry with the demands of civic engagement?
In Heidegger, Alain Badiou and Barbara Cassin immerse themselves in the philosopher’s correspondence with his wife Elfride to answer these questions as they relate to Heidegger and all thinkers vulnerable to the politics of their times. They focus on Heidegger’s tormented relationship with his wife, with Hannah Arendt, and with numerous other women, bringing an unusual level of intimacy to his personal and intellectual worlds.