Martin Heidegger (1889-1976)
Alistair MacFarlane considers the being and times of the writer of Being and Time.
Martin Heidegger provokes an extreme and polarised response to both his philosophy and his life. He has been hailed as the greatest philosopher of the twentieth century, compared to St Augustine, considered a profound analyst of the ills besetting modern philosophy and modern life, as well as being called the greatest charlatan ever to claim the title of philosopher, and dubbed a gullible and self-important Nazi. The vehemence of the reaction to his philosophy stems from his direct challenge to the hegemony of analytic philosophy, and in particular, to the idea that philosophy is the handmaiden of science. The virulence of the attacks on his personal life stem from his involvement in the catastrophic political events in Germany during the 1930s and 40s.
Martin Heidegger was born on 26th September 1889 to a poor Catholic family in the quiet Schwabian town of Messkirch in the Black Forest district of Baden-Württemberg, in southern Germany.