I will begin by repeating part of something I wrote back in 2010. It bears repeating. Refer back to the 2010 entry for context.
I should begin by saying that I haven't yet read Emmanuel Faye's Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy. But if the earlier NYT article is to be trusted -- a big 'if' -- Faye's book
. . . calls on philosophy professors to treat Heidegger’s writings like hate speech. Libraries, too, should stop classifying Heidegger’s collected works (which have been sanitized and abridged by his family) as philosophy and instead include them under the history of Nazism. These measures would function as a warning label, like a skull-and-crossbones on a bottle of poison, to prevent the careless spread of his most odious ideas, which Mr. Faye lists as the exaltation of the state over the individual, the impossibility of morality, anti-humanism and racial purity.
If this is what Faye is saying, then his book is rubbish and ought to be ignored. Hate speech? That's a term leftists use for speech they don't like. No one in his right mind could see Heidegger's magnum opus, Sein und Zeit (Being and Time), published in 1927, as anything close to hate speech. The claim that it is is beneath refutation. Nor can his lectures and publications after 1933, when Hitler came to power, be dismissed in this way.
Heidegger undoubtedly inspires violent passions: he was a National Socialist, and what's worse, he never admitted he was wrong about his political alignment. But according to Michael Dummett, the great logician Gottlob Frege was an anti-Semite. (Dummett says this in either the preface or the introduction to Frege: The Philosophy of Language. ) Now will you ignore Frege's seminal teachings because of his alleged anti-Semitism? That would be senseless. And let's not forget that the later Jean-Paul Sartre was not just a Commie, but a Stalinist. Should Critique of Dialectical Reason be dismissed as hate speech? Should we deny Sartre the title 'philosopher' and re-classify him as a Commie ideologue? Of course not. And please no double standard. Why is being a Nazi worse than being a Stalinist? Why is murdering people because of their ethnic affiliation worse than murdering people because of their class affiliation?
You have two highly influential philosophers. One aligns himself politically with the mass murderer Hitler, the other with the mass murderer Stalin. That is extremely interesting, and no doubt troubling, but in the end it is truth that we philosophers are after, and in pursuit of it we should leave no stone unturned: we should examine all ideas in order to arrive as closely as we can to the truth. All ideas, no matter what they are, whether they come from a Black Forest ski hut or a Parisian coffee house, or the syphilitic brain of a lonely German philologist. Haul them one and all before the tribunal of Reason and question them in the full light of day. To understand the content of the ideas it may be necessary to examine the men and women behind them. But once a philosopher's propositions have been clearly set forth, the question of their truth or falsity is logically independent of their psychological, or sociological, or other, origin. To think otherwise is to commit the Genetic Fallacy.
Sartre claimed that man has no nature, that "existence precedes essence." He got the idea from Heidegger's Sein und Zeit, p. 42: Das 'Wesen' des Daseins liegt in seiner Existenz. It is an interesting and influential idea. What exactly does it mean? What does it entail? What does it exclude? What considerations can be adduced in support of it? Questions like these are what a real philosopher pursues. He doesn't waste all his time poking into the all-too-human philosopher's dirty laundry in the manner of Faye and Romano. Are people in this Age of Celebrity incapable of focusing on ideas?
And then there is Nietzsche. If the Gesamtausgabe of Heidegger ought to be marked with a skull-and-crossbones, then a fortiori for the Gesammelte Schriften of Nietzsche. There are dangerous ideas in Nietzsche. See my post Nietzsche and National Socialism. Indeed, Nietzsche's ideas are far more dangerous than Heidegger's. Should we burn Nietzsche's books and brand The Antichrist as hate speech? Stupid!
The Nazis burned books and the Roman Catholic Church had an index librorum prohibitorum. Now I don't deny that certain impressionable people need to be protected from certain odious influences. But Heidegger writings are no more 'hate speech' (whatever that is) than Nietzsche's writings are, and they don't belong on any latter-day leftist's index librorum prohibitorum. Are they both philosophers? Of course. Are they on a par with Plato and Kant? Not by a long shot! Are their ideas worth discussing? I should think so: they go wrong in interesting ways. Just like Wittgenstein and many others.
According to Carlin Romano in "Heil Heidegger!"
Faye's leitmotif throughout is that Heidegger, from his earliest writings, drew on reactionary ideas in early-20th-century Germany to absolutely exalt the state and the Volk over the individual, making Nazism and its Blut und Boden ("Blood and Soil") rhetoric a perfect fit. Heidegger's Nazism, he writes, "is much worse than has so far been known." (Exactly how bad remains unclear because the Heidegger family still restricts access to his private papers.)
From his earliest writings? Absurdly false. Heidegger's dissertation was on psychologism in logic, and his Habilitationschrift was on Duns Scotus. No exaltation of the State or Blut und Boden rhetoric in those works. Trust me, I've read them. Have Faye and Romano?
One more quotation from Romano: "The "reality of Nazism," asserts Faye, inspired Heidegger's works "in their entirety and nourished them at the root level." That is an absurd claim. The ideas in Being and Time were worked out in the 1920s, long before Hitler came to power in '33, and are a highly original blend of themes from Kierkegaard's existentialism, Dilthey's Lebensphilosophie, Husserl's Phenomenology, Kantian and ne0-Kantian transcendental philosophy, and Aristotelian-scholastic ontological concerns about the manifold senses of 'being.' There is no Nazism there. The rumblings of Nazi ideology came later in such works as Introduction to Metaphysics (1935). But even in these works from the '30s on, what is really going on is a working out of Heidegger's philosophical problematic concerning Being. The notion that Heidegger's work is primarily an expression of Nazism is delusional and not worth discussing.
So why did I discuss it?
For the latest developments in the controversy, see the following (HT: Sed Contra):