Introduction to Metaphysics (Heidegger)

Introduction to Metaphysics (German: Einführung in die Metaphysik) is a book by Martin Heidegger (published in Germany in 1953)[1] of a revised and edited lecture course he gave in the summer of 1935 at the University of Freiburg. The work is famous for Heidegger's powerful reinterpretation of Greek thought, but has been widely regarded as fascist in character.[2]

Introduction to Metaphysics
AuthorMartin Heidegger
Original titleEinführung in die Metaphysik
  • 1984: Ralph Manheim
  • 2000: Gregory Fried and Richard Polt
Publication date
Published in English
  • 1984 (Manheim)
  • 2000 (Fried & Polt)
  • 2014 (Fried & Polt, revised and expanded ed.)
Preceded byKant and the Problem of Metaphysics 
Followed byContributions to Philosophy 


According to Heidegger, the fundamental question of metaphysics is "why are there beings at all instead of nothing?"[3] From this fundamental question Heidegger extracts a prior question about the relation to Being; or "How does it stand with Being?"[4] This is to be answered through an analysis of Greek poetry, the etymology of the word 'being', and of the answers given by philosophers such as Parmenides, Heraclitus, Aristotle, and Immanuel Kant. To Heidegger, this question is not purely an academic endeavour, for metaphysics grounds an age, by giving "that age the basis upon which it is essentially formed".[5] The question thus inherently implicates the totality of human Dasein, and is asked so as to "restore the historical Dasein of human beings ... back to the power of Being that is to be opened up originally".[4] This opens up the discussion of socio-political entanglements of Dasein and Heidegger's notion of the "inner truth and greatness" of National Socialism.[6]


Introduction to Metaphysics is famous for Heidegger's powerful reinterpretation of Greek thought and infamous for his acknowledgement of the Nazi Party.[1] Julian Young writes that it is a work which even those sympathetic to Heidegger have generally considered fascist in character.[2] Nevertheless, the work has also been seen as being critical of Nazism for being insufficiently radical and suffering from the same spiritual impoverishment as the Soviet Union and the United States.[7]

Academic reviews

Introduction to Metaphysics was reviewed by the psychologist and philosopher Miles Groth in The Review of Metaphysics.[8]

Groth believed that the translation by Gregory Fried and Richard Polt would be "more congenial" to students of twentieth-century continental philosophy than the earlier English translation, but maintained that there were still important problems in Fried and Polt's attempt to make Heidegger's thought accessible. He wrote that their translation "falters with peculiar renderings of several Heidegger's basic words in this text", considering their rendering of Sein as "Being" the most important example, and argued that there was no reason to leave Dasein untranslated, and criticized the omission of Petra Jaeger's afterword to the German edition, along with her detailed table of contents and related texts provided for the 1983 German edition. He described "Heidegger's readings of Heraclitus and Parmenides" as "famously idiosyncratic", and his "suggestion that they fundamentally agree" as "challenging".[8]


  1. Introduction to Metaphysics, trans. by Gregory Fried and Richard Polt New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000
  2. Young, Julian (1997). Heidegger, philosophy, Nazism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 8. ISBN 0-521-64494-1.
  3. Heidegger 2000, p. 19.
  4. Heidegger 2000, p. 44.
  5. Heidegger, Martin (1977). The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays. New York: Harper & Row. p. 115. ISBN 0-06-131969-4.
  6. Heidegger 2000, p. 213.
  7. "Response to Gregory Fried's 'The King Is Dead: Heidegger's Black Notebooks'". Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  8. Groth, Miles (September 2001). "Introduction to Metaphysics (Book)". The Review of Metaphysics. 55 (1): 138.   via EBSCO's Academic Search Complete (subscription required)
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