Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Stephen P. Turner

Co-Major Professor

Charles B. Guignon


Authenticity, National Socialism, Radical Democracy, Tradition


Martin Heidegger was not only one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century but also a supporter of and a contributor to one of the most discriminatory ideologies of the recent past. Thus, "the Heidegger's case" gives us philosophers an opportunity to work on discrimination from a philosophical perspective. My aim in this essay is to question the relationship between freedom and discrimination via Heidegger's philosophy. I will show that what bridges the gap between Heidegger's philosophy and a discriminatory ideology such as the National Socialist ideology is Heidegger's conceptualization of freedom with the aid of a monolithic understanding of history--one that refuses to acknowledge the plurality and heterogeneity in the socio-historical existence of human beings. Accordingly, I will claim that the Heideggerian freedom depends on the social, if not literal, murder of the marginalized segments of a given society.

However, I will refuse to conclude that Heidegger's philosophy is a Nazi philosophy and that it should never be appropriated as long as we want to purify our thoughts from discriminatory ideas. Rather, I will re-appropriate Heidegger, against Heidegger, to read and interpret Michel Foucault's and Judith Butler's philosophies. My aim here is to construct a social ontology that may justify anti-discriminatory policies. More specifically, through my Heideggerian readings of Foucault and Butler, I will argue that one's freedom is dependent on the cultural resuscitation of socially, and sometimes literally, murdered racial, sexual, ethnic, religious, and sectarian/confessional minorities.

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