Heidegger/Arendt: Philosophy, Influence, and Being
Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger’s love affair is perhaps the most well-known, if not notorious, in modern Western letters. But, putting the more intimate aspects aside, how can we understand the intellectual connection, sometimes ardent, sometimes ambivalent, sometimes hostile that tied the two together for the majority of their adult lives—even after Heidegger’s turn to Nazism?
In this course we will explore the affinities and differences that constituted Heidegger and Arendt’s shared and enduing intellectual engagement—the philosophical traditions, divergent approaches to thinking, and original work in political philosophy and theory that emergent therefrom. Reading Arendt and Heidegger side-by-side we will explore key questions and themes in their work related to thinking, technology, the meaning of being, and poetics. While many people assume Heidegger’s influence on Arendt’s work, this course will also explore Arendt’s influence on Heidegger’s writing—from Being in Time to his later work on thinking. Drawing from published works, archival materials, correspondence, secondary essays, and editorial notes, we will piece together their philosophical conversations. Often at odds with one another, Arendt and Heidegger had different understandings of the meaning of being—those classical problems of metaphysics that ask after what it means for humans to be in the world. We will look at Heidegger’s being-in-the-world and being-toward-death, and Arendt’s being-in-the-world-with-others and natality, the principle of being-toward-birth. What did Heidegger mean when he said Arendt was the muse for Being in Time? What did Arendt mean when she wrote she was doing the work of dismantling metaphysics? And finally, what can an intellectual history of Heidegger and Arendt teach us: About the meaning (and, as Arendt saw it, limits) of Heidegger’s Existenz philosophy? About Arendt’s phenomenological political philosophy (so difficult to assimilate to the traditional categories of conservative, liberal, or socialist)? Is Arendt’s work a complement to Heidegger’s, or a negation—or is the relation something altogether more ambiguous? Readings will be drawn from major and minor works and essays by Arendt and Heidegger, including The Human Condition, Being and Time, Love and Saint Augustine, “The Question Concerning Technology,” and much more.
Course ScheduleSunday, 2:00-5:00pm ET
June 11 — July 02, 2023