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Heidegger, Martin (1889–1976)

Martin Heidegger addressed the average person's everyday experience. Drawing on idiosyncratic readings of Greek and German philosophers, writing in critical engagement with Edmund Husserl's (1859–1938) phenomenological investigations into mental processes, and reflecting a deep attachment to the rural ways of southwest Germany (where he was born and spent his life), Heidegger published his leading book in 1927. For many,Sein und Zeit (Being and Time) stands alongside intellectual milestones such as Plato's Republic (4th century BCE) or Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (1781).

For Heidegger, there are two types of thought: “calculating” thought, associated with technology, rationalization, and dehumanization of the world, and “meditating,” or “poetic,” thought, associated with human authenticity. By alienating the self to modernity and to the idle talk peddled by everyone around ...

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