Sein und Zeit, 1927 (Being and Time, 1962)
Vom Wesen des Grundes, 1929 (The Essence of Reasons, 1969)
Kant und das Problem der Metaphysik, 1929 (Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, 1962)
Was ist Metaphysik?, 1929 (“What Is Metaphysics?,” 1949)
Die Selbstbehauptung der deutschen Universität, 1934 (The Self-Assertion of the German University, 1985)
Platons Lehre von der Wahrheit: Mit einem Brief über den “Humanismus,” 1947 (Plato’s Doctrine of Truth and “Letter on Humanism,” in Philosophy in the Twentieth Century, 1962)
Existence and Being, 1949
Holzwege, 1950 (“The Origin of the Work of Art,” in Poetry, Language, and Thought, 1971)
Einführung in die Metaphysik, 1953 (An Introduction to Metaphysics, 1959)
Was heißt Denken?, 1954 (What Is Called Thinking?, 1968)
Vorträge und Aufsätze, 1954 (3 volumes)
Was ist das–die Philosophie?, 1956 (What Is Philosophy?, 1958)
Zur Seinfrage, 1956 (The Question of Being, 1958)
Der Satz vom Grund, 1957 (The Principle of Ground, 1974)
Identität und Differenz, 1957 (Identity and Difference, 1969)
Gelassenheit, 1959 (Discourse on Thinking, 1966)
Unterwegs zur Sprache, 1959 (On the Way to Lan-1442 / Martin Heidegger guage, 1971)
Nietzsche, 1961 (2 volumes; English translation, 1979-1984, 4 volumes)
Die Frage nach dem Ding, 1962 (What Is a Thing?, 1967)
Wegmarken, 1967 (Pathmarks, 1998)
Zur Sache des Denkens, 1969 (On Time and Being, 1972)
Poetry, Language, Thought, 1971
Early Greek Thinking, 1975
The Question Concerning Technology, and Other Essays, 1976
The Piety of Thinking, 1976
“Nur noch ein Gott kann uns retten,” 1976 (“Only a God Can Save Us,” 1976)
Martin Heidegger: Basic Writings, 1977
The work of Martin Heidegger (HI-dehg-ur) was extremely influential in twentieth century philosophy, theology, and literary criticism. His writings are essential reading for a study of phenomenology, existentialism, and deconstruction.
Heidegger was born into a Catholic family, and he began his academic studies as a student of theology. During his studies and early teaching career at the University of Freiburg, however, Heidegger became a follower of Edmund Husserl, who encouraged Heidegger’s work only as Heidegger began to reject his adherence to Catholic doctrine. Heidegger’s study of Friedrich Nietzsche completed his break with Catholicism.
Heidegger’s first major work is his magnum opus, Being and Time, which lays out a program of “destroying” the history of metaphysics through an investigation of the question of Being. In his first attempt to ask the question of Being, Heidegger privileges the example of Dasein, his own term for the “being-there” of humans. Heidegger’s theological origins can be discerned in his investigation of Dasein as “fallen” into the world and “tempted” to exist inauthentically. Heidegger completed the published version of Being and Time while teaching at the University of Marburg, where he influenced the theology of Rudolf Bultmann. Despite that fact that Heidegger’s analysis of Dasein is indebted to the theology of Saint Paul, Saint Augustine, Martin Luther, and Søren Kierkegaard, it had a great influence on French atheistic existentialists, especially Jean-Paul Sartre.
In 1928, Heidegger returned to Freiburg, and in 1933 he accepted a position as rector of the university. In his inaugural address, Heidegger uses his philosophy of Being to support National Socialism. Heidegger resigned as rector before serving a year, but he remained a member of the National Socialist Party throughout World War II. He was briefly removed from his professorship when the Allied powers captured Germany, but he was reinstated after a trial exonerated him of active participation in the Nazi regime.
Heidegger himself argued that in his lectures on Nietzsche during the war he was actually criticizing National Socialism. Through his prolonged study of Nietzsche, Heidegger took up the problem of the “overcoming of metaphysics.” Heidegger analyzes Nietzsche’s attempt to overcome the Platonism of Western philosophy, but Heidegger places Nietzsche within, even though at the end of, metaphysics or “ontotheology.” Heidegger argues that metaphysical thought is characterized by a forgetting of the “ontological difference”–the difference between Being and beings.
In his reading of the history of metaphysics, Heidegger discovers the history of the epochs of Being, from the pre-Socratic philosophers to Nietzsche. Heidegger believes that he discovers the origin of the forgetting of the question of Being in early Greek philosophy, because Being is there, as elsewhere in philosophy, both revealed and concealed, since, according to Heidegger, this is the nature of truth or aletheia.
In his writings after Being and Time, Heidegger’s thinking undergoes what he calls a Kehre (a turn), in which he begins to think of the movement of Being toward Dasein, rather than starting with Dasein’s apprehension of Being. In his influential “Letter on Humanism,” Heidegger attempts to differentiate his work from the “humanism” of French existentialism, rejecting the interpretation of his work by Sartre.
Heidegger also looks to art and poetry in his attempt to discover the meaning of the question of Being. He especially looks to the writings of Friedrich Hölderlin. In his reading of Hölderlin’s poetry, Heidegger’s work continues to display a theological dimension as he draws a parallel between the poet’s attempt to name the holy and the thinker’s attempt to think Being.
In the final phase of his work, Heidegger tries to question even more radically the question of Being by “crossing out” the word Being in order to mark the nihilistic forgetting of Being. He argues that this crossing through also marks the intersection of the four dimensions of Being: the earth and sky, divinities and mortals.
In an interview not published until after his death (at the request of Heidegger) entitled “Only a God Can Save Us,” Heidegger finally answers questions about his participation in National Socialism. Most interpreters argue that Heidegger still refused to acknowledge any guilt. This interview also reveals the theological thrust of Heidegger’s work, as Heidegger looks forward to the coming of a new god as the only way for humankind to be “saved” from the nihilism of modern technological society.