Martin Heidegger (1889–1976) was probably the most influential philosopher of the twentieth century; certainly he remains the most controversial. This enduring controversy stems not only from Heidegger's undeniably horrendous politics, legendarily difficult prose, and profoundly challenging views, but also from the fact that a list of the major thinkers inspired by the works he wrote after Being and Time (1927) reads like the required table of contents for any good anthology of “contemporary continental philosophy”: Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, Jean Baudrillard, Maurice Blanchot, Stanley Cavell, Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Derrida, Hubert Dreyfus, Michel Foucault, Luce Irigaray, Jacques Lacan, Emmanuel Levinas, Jean-François Lyotard, Herbert Marcuse, Jacques Rancière, Richard Rorty, Charles Taylor, Gianni Vattimo, and Slavoj Žižek. For all these “postmodernists” (the heading under which this diverse group is often lumped together), Heidegger's later philosophy served as a formative influence as well as a primary point of departure. Yet, despite his immense influence, Heidegger's own philosophical attempt to articulate a postmodern understanding of being – and so help usher in a postmodern age – remains shrouded in darkness and confusion along with the other views at the heart of his later thought. That is a situation this book hopes to help remedy.
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