If authorship is irrelevant, does it matter that Heidegger and Paul de Man penned anti-Semitic works?

If you remove an author from his or her work, does that also remove accountability? Should writers like Heidegger and Paul de Man be able to write sexist, racist or homophobic works under the anonymity that the death of the author gives them?

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3 thoughts on “If authorship is irrelevant, does it matter that Heidegger and Paul de Man penned anti-Semitic works? Leave a comment

  1. How can authorship be irrelevant? It does make a difference that the most significant intellectual of the twenty century Edmund Husserl, who created the style of philosophy known as Phenomenology and the style of psychology known as Gestalt, made his most famous protege aware of the risks the two of them faced in Germany because of their Jew bloodlines, but Martin Heidegger decided to become a propagandist for Adolph Hitler rather than relocate to France and join the Opposition. How, for instance, can you make sense of “The Age Of The World Picture” that promotes conformism unless you understand that Martin Heidegger was a NAZI who wrote with a shadow career that wrote anonymously about how the Jew must be exterminated?


    1. Hi,
      We actually couldn’t agree more. I think your points are spot on and well expressed. My conditional sentence was actually a rhetorical question since most literary theory follows Wimsatt and Beardsley’s ‘The Intentional Fallacy’ and disregard authorship.(Barthes’ Death of an Author’ Foucault’s ‘What is an author?’ etc
      Intentism is actually an arts movement that is trying to readdress this. (www.intentism.com)
      Do check us out if you have the time- we need people like yourself!


      1. Thanks for overlooking my typing errors, which I apologize are largely unavoidable almost five months into a TRIAL BY ORDEAL in which I am being tortured for trying to stop the Central Intelligence Agency from subjecting us indigenous Terrapin tribespeople of the continent outsiders call north america to forced medical experiments. I’m living mainly on bread, I have to walk about fifteen mikes a day and I am not allowed to lie down, much less sleep, since I was removed by nine sheriffs without basis in law from my condo at 8:30am on December 3rd, 2012. The portion of my comment I wish could be corrected should read: “…Heidegger was a NAZI with a shadow career who wrote anonymously…” I appreciate being welcomed to participate with the Intentionists.


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