Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Joshua Rayman, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Stephen Turner, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lee Braver, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Douglas Jesseph, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Alphonso Lingis, Ph.D.


Authenticity, Bataille, Community, Fascism, Heidegger


Heidegger’s relationship with Nazism has been debated since the 1930s. In the late 1930s, Georges Bataille wrote an incomplete text that would have added to these debates, “Critique of Heidegger: Critique of a philosophy of fascism.” I draw on this fragment and Bataille’s writings from this era in order to develop a fuller critique of Heidegger and his relationship to fascism. This expanded critique completes the promise of Bataille’s original fragment, offering a full Bataillean criticism of Heidegger and displaying the connections between his philosophy and Bataille’s understanding of fascism. This critique hinges on Heidegger’s concept of authenticity and community, as a Bataillean reading would interpret these ideas as mere inauthentic useful concepts in the name of a nostalgic vision of the ancient Greeks. Heidegger wanted to fight against modern technological alienation—exemplified by the modern sciences and founded on subject based modern metaphysics—by returning to a more originary relationship with Being, but, on Bataille’s reading, without the will to pervert modern ideology and the political system. This desire for a return renders his Destruktion of the history of metaphysics means to an end, further calcifying preexisting values. As a result of this inability to pervert, Heidegger’s return promotes the reconstitution of contemporary political structures with a strong centralized authority figure empowered to guide this nostalgic return.

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