A background to Heidegger


Martin Heidegger (26 September 1889 – 26 May 1976)

Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher who grew up in Messkirch, in the black forest of West Germany. As a practicing catholic, the young Martin aspired to becoming a priest, and successfully gained a scholarship to study theology at the University of Freiburg. Whilst undertaking his studies, he became interested in philosophy, and realising that this was where his passion lay, he changed the direction of his study. In doing so he relinquished his scholarship from the Catholic Church and had to finance his own studies by taking part time work tutoring. As a Doctoral student he received tuition from the eminent Heinrich Rickert and Edmund Husserl. His doctorate in philosophy was awarded to Heidegger in 1913 with a dissertation entitled “The Doctrine of Judgment in Psychologism: A Critical-Positive Contribution to Logic”. His relationship with Edmund Husserl continued, with Husserl adopting a paternal role to the young Martin, and making him his personal assistant. Husserl was by this time becoming renowned in the field of phenomenology, a philosophy which he had founded and developed.  In 1923 Heidegger was appointed associate professor of philosophy at the University of Marburg. In 1927 Heidegger published his Magnus opus, “Being and Time” which he dedicated to Husserl; “in grateful respect and friendship” On Husserl’s retirement in 1928 from the chair of philosophy at the University of Freiburg he recommended that his successor be Heidegger. In 1933, Heidegger joined the Nazi party, and in 1934 he became Rector of the University of Freiburg, a position which he kept for less than one year before resigning. At the end of the Second World War Heidegger was the subject of the denazification process, which banned him from teaching for five years. In 1951 he was readmitted to teaching at Freiburg University and was granted emeritus status.


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