chapter  8
15 Pages

The Political Motivations of Heidegger’s anti-Cartesianism


The great attention given in Germany to Descartes by neo-Kantianism and Husserl’s phenomenology gave way, throughout the 1920s, to a mounting wave of anti-Cartesianism. That wave broke in the 1930s. It culminated with the activities of the German delegation to Paris in 1937 and with the publication, the following year, of Franz Bõhm’s Anti-Cartesianismus. Based much more on politics than philosophy, this anti-Cartesianism was tied to the rise of National Socialism. Did it end with the fall of the Third Reich? Do we not have here a historical episode that now belongs to the past? It is possible that in a philosophical form this politically motivated anti-Cartesianism has survived and that it has even won France over, through the considerable infl uence exercised by Heidegger: in his philosophy, too, anti-Cartesianism may be inspired by considerations that are not purely philosophical. That is why it may be necessary to examine it in the round, taking into account some texts that have only recently become available.