chapter  5
The many sounds of Heidegger’s silence
Pages 14

Martin Heidegger’s work was a watershed for his philosophical reflections on time, language and existence. In posing an old question anew: why is there something and not nothing, he attracted readers not only from the field of philosophy, but also from theology, poetry and literature. The recent publication of Heidegger’s Schwarze Hefte 1931-1941 (2014), however, has rekindled controversy surrounding his Nazi involvement and silence about the Holocaust.1 For decades, scholars have wondered what Heidegger’s silence might have meant – denial, indifference, inability to speak, shock or simply anti-Semitism.2 After all these years, one might ask whether the question is relevant anymore. Why should one expect harmony between a philosopher’s writing and his life? Heidegger was certainly not the first, nor the last, philosopher with dubious political alliances (Rorty 1999).