Remembering Martin Heidegger: September 26, 1889–May 26, 1976

Por • 30 sep, 2015 • Sección: Opinion

Greg Johnson

Martin Heidegger is one of the giants of twentieth-century philosophy, both in terms of the depth and originality of his ideas and the breadth of his influence in philosophy, theology, the human sciences, and culture in general.

Heidegger was born on September 26, 1889, in the town of Meßkirch in the district of Sigmaringen in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. He died on May 26, 1976 in Freiburg and was buried in Meßkirch.

Heidegger was from a lower-class Catholic family. His family was too poor to send him to university, so he enrolled in a Jesuit seminary. But Heidegger was soon rejected by the Jesuits due to a heart condition. He then studied theology at the University of Freiburg from 1909–1911, after which time he switched his focus to philosophy. Eventually Heidegger broke entirely with Christianity.

In 1914 Heidegger defended his doctoral dissertation. In 1916, he defended his habilitation dissertation, which entitled him to teach in a German university. During the First World War, Heidegger was spared front duty because of his heart condition.

From 1919 to 1923, Heidegger was the salaried research assistant of Edmund Husserl at the University of Freiburg. Husserl, who was a Jewish convert to Lutheranism, was the founder of the phenomenological movement in German philosophy, and Heidegger was to become his most illustrious student.


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