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  • Cited by 2
  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: March 2007

3 - The principle of phenomenology


Heidegger was remarkable not just for his philosophical originality, but also for the breadth and depth of his response to the tradition. He learned an enormous amount from, and engaged in provocative ways with, figures spanning the entire history of ancient, medieval, and modern philosophy from the Presocratics to Nietzsche. And yet, perhaps inevitably, to other important thinkers he remained either indifferent or hostile - for example, Spinoza, Rousseau, Fichte, Schopenhauer, Marx, Freud, Frege, Wittgenstein, Carnap, not to mention practically the entire Anglo-American tradition from Hobbes to Dewey.

In which of the two groups would the founder of phenomenology, Edmund Husserl, have found himself, had he not accepted the appointment as chair at the University of Freiburg in 1916 and become a kind of professional mentor to his younger colleague? Heidegger assumed the Freiburg chair himself upon Husserl's retirement in 1928; indeed, the association of their names had already become a fact of history even before the publication of Being and Time in Husserl's Jahrbuch, complete with its dedication to him “in admiration and friendship.”

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