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Current disputesEdit

Martin HeideggerEdit

  – Discussion in progress.
Filed by VeryRarelyStable on 01:49, 27 December 2019 (UTC).

Have you discussed this on a talk page?

Yes, I have discussed this issue on a talk page already.

Location of dispute

Users involved

Dispute overview

Content issues:

  • There is a live scholarly debate as to how much Heidegger's Nazism influenced his philosophy. At present his Nazism isn't getting much attention, which we (Sbelknap and I) think favours one side of the debate by default.
  • Heidegger is notorious for his obscure writing; again we believe this is downplayed on the page as it is.
  • The sections explaining Heidegger's philosophy do not meet Wikipedia's standards of legibility.

Wikipedia policy issues that have arisen:

  • Each time anyone alters the balance of the existing page on these issues, they are reverted and told to get consensus first. Is this appropriate?
  • We have presented multiple secondary sources and some tertiary sources for our points of view. All of them have been rejected as not good enough. Lately we're being told that only tertiary sources are acceptable.
  • Our opponents do not engage with our counter-arguments but merely tell us that we are wrong.
  • When we summarize the information in our sources we are told they don't represent the opinions of the writers; when we quote them directly we are told that direct quotes are inappropriate.

How have you tried to resolve this dispute before coming here?

How do you think we can help resolve the dispute?

Please give guidance on the policy issues outlined above: are we "breaching consensus" or are our opponents enforcing a pseudo-consensus? Are the sources we have consulted inadequate or poorly summarized?

Note: I will be away from the internet over New Year for nearly a week, starting from tomorrow. Letting other parties know now so that you know I'm not refusing to participate in the discussion. —VeryRarelyStable (talk) 22:34, 27 December 2019 (UTC)

Please advise as to whether the Martin Heidegger article and the Martin Heidegger and Nazism ought to be merged. It would be very helpful if editors with experience on biographies of other Nazi philosophers/pedagogues could opine here. These would include:

Sbelknap (talk) 03:40, 29 December 2019 (UTC)

Summary of dispute by SbelknapEdit

Please keep it brief - less than 2000 characters if possible, it helps us help you quicker.

•There is a serious problem with POV, where some editors remove material that casts Heidegger in a negative light. This ought be a biography not a hagiography. Instead, this biography has been split into one article about Martin Heidegger the Good and a separate article Martin Heidegger the Terrible. These two articles ought to be merged into a single article, as this would assist the reader seeking information about Heidegger. The splitting off of Martin Heidegger and Nazism into a separate article is the phenomenon that gets to the heart of the problem.

•Some philosophers and scholars (particularly the analytically-oriented) hold that Heidegger's philosophy is mere wordplay, or is so obscure as to be incomprehensible, or is nonsensical. These critiques ought to be addressed in a new section, rather than in the fragmentary fashion seen in the current article.

•There is substantial recent scholarship about Heidegger's Nazism and anti-semitism that is not given due weight in the current Martin Heidegger article. Attempts to correct this deficiency are reverted or edited away. There is a long-standing history of Heidegger apologism, going back to the French existentialists.[1] The availability of Heidegger's Black Notebooks and of the correspondence between the Heidegger brothers, Martin and Fritz, has made it clear that Heidegger's Nazism was not a passing fancy related to his rectorship, but instead was an essential part of his world view. There also is scholarship that finds Nazism and anti-semitism to be at the core of Heidegger's philosophy. Thus, these several schools of thought ought be given due weight.

•Heidegger's romantic and sexual relationship with Hannah Arendt contributes to his notability, though less so than his philosophy or his Nazism/anti-semitism. This deserves its own section in the article. Sbelknap (talk) 03:26, 29 December 2019 (UTC)

Summary of dispute by SnowdedEdit

Per the discussion below, I am prepared to participate and will state a position of other editors agree to do the same -----Snowded TALK 07:03, 28 December 2019 (UTC)

Summary of dispute by FreeknowledgecreatorEdit

Please keep it brief - less than 2000 characters if possible, it helps us help you quicker.

I only intend to participate here if, at minimum, a majority of the editors listed decide to participate. Otherwise I will not bother. Freeknowledgecreator (talk) 08:34, 27 December 2019 (UTC)

Summary of dispute by TgeorgescuEdit

Please keep it brief - less than 2000 characters if possible, it helps us help you quicker.

I don't have a problem with the arguments of the other side, except that I think that the proper article for their edits is Martin Heidegger and Nazism instead of Martin Heidegger. So, they seek to edit the wrong article. Oh, yeah, I got bored by being called a Heidegger apologist. As for his philosophy being "nonsense", analytic philosophers will say that about any "continental" philosophy, except perhaps Aristotle.

Only two persons understand my book Science of Logic: me and my dear God. After I die there will be only one person left to understand it.

— G.W.F. Hegel

Quoted from memory. Tgeorgescu (talk) 13:32, 29 December 2019 (UTC)

Summary of dispute by Martinevans123Edit

As per User:Epinoia below, who has summed it up very well. I would add that there has also been far too much debate over what should appear in the lead section, to the detriment of fixing what's in the main body. The lead section is supposed to simply summarize what's in the entire article, which should be in good shape first. Heidegger was notable for being a philosopher, not for being a Nazi. His supposed anti-Semitism is at odds with his relationship with Hannah Arendt. I also think the proposed merging of the main article with Martin Heidegger and Nazism would be a mistake. Martinevans123 (talk) 16:47, 9 January 2020 (UTC)

Summary of dispute by EpinoiaEdit

There has been a concerted effort on the part of two editors to characterize Heidegger's philosophy as nonsense and to maximize his Nazi associations and present his work as not philosophy but hate speech. These are extreme positions not in keeping with a neutral point of view and are based on minor sources and fringe sources, such as Faye, and not on mainstream academic scholarship. Most reliable sources agree that "Martin Heidegger is widely acknowledged to be one of the most original and important philosophers of the 20th century" (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy), so his work is demonstrably not nonsense. Heidegger's Nazism is well represented as it is noted in the lead and in the article sections "Heidegger and the Nazi Party" and "The Farías debate" as well as in the content fork article "Martin Heidegger and Nazism". - Epinoia (talk) 17:40, 28 December 2019 (UTC)

Martin Heidegger discussionEdit

Please keep discussion to a minimum before being opened by a volunteer. Continue on article talk page if necessary.
Please refrain from back and forth discussion at this time
  • Volunteer comment – Given that the primary request here is for someone to assess the consensus of the existing discussion, you may want to list this at WP:Requests for closure instead of here. signed, Rosguill talk 09:09, 27 December 2019 (UTC)
While an assessment of the consensus of the existing discussion would be helpful, we need still more a determination on what constitutes a "consensus" – we're being told that, since we came along later and changed the page from what it was before, we're "breaching consensus". —VeryRarelyStable (talk) 22:56, 27 December 2019 (UTC)
While implicit consensuses can be formed purely through editing the page, the kind of lasting consensus that would justify reverting edits for breaching consensus is only going to be formed through talk page discussion. If the most recent discussion does not display a clear consensus, then either having an uninvolved editor close the discussion and determine its outcome, or convening an RfC to attract other editors to the discussion and hopefully result in a clearer consensus, are two natural next steps to take. signed, Rosguill talk 23:13, 27 December 2019 (UTC)
We've had other editors come in from outside and comment. They found the same thing we have – that the party opposed to us refuse to engage with their arguments and continue to revert our edits in the name of consensus. —VeryRarelyStable (talk) 01:04, 28 December 2019 (UTC)
From looking through the archived discussions, I see two camps of editors, roughly equal in number, that either want to include more discussion of Heidegger's Nazi affiliations in the lead, or that want to keep the status quo. None of these discussions resulted in a clear consensus for adding more information about Heidegger's Nazi affiliations, so for the time being the defenders of the status quo are correct that the pre-existing consensus stands. Both sides have made numerous arguments, and essentially seem to be going in circles in later discussions. While no one appears to have been persuaded away from their original positions, it doesn't appear that this is due to people not understanding each other's arguments, nor does it appear to be due to people failing to argue over the correct issues that are central to the discussion.
Thus, at this time my assessment is that if editors who want to change the status quo want to pursue their case further, an RfC where everyone briefly restates their strongest argument and allows for outside editors to weigh in is the best way to achieve a consensus. I am skeptical that DRN will be of much use, as it is most useful in cases where there are either so many issues being discussed at once that people lose track of which arguments need to be made, or in cases where one or more parties is having difficulty understanding the other side's arguments. signed, Rosguill talk 01:54, 28 December 2019 (UTC)

I'm less sure on the RfC route. If you take a look at the section OK its time to talk and the first question I made an attempt to deal with the problem in smaller units. The first and easiest was if the primary notability of Heidegger was as a philosopher or not. I thought this would be simple and we could then look at if his membership of the Nazi party was treated proportionally with due attention to weight, then onto how to deal with the current controversy over the degree to which his philosophy was influenced by anti-Semitism and so on. As with every other discussion we ended up stalled with five editors (Tgeorgescu, Epinoia, MartinEvants, Freeknowledgecreator and myself) pointing out that all identified Third-party sources (other physical and online encyclopedias)devote maybe one paragraph to the Nazi Party membership in several pages. In contrast, the other two editors arguing that it was equally valid to use selective quotations from primary sources to determine the question.

To that we can note:

  • seven involved editors is a lot for a philosophy article so a more or less continuous majority of five to two is significant and is a consensus
  • of those five editors the majority edit over multiple philosophy articles while the two are more or less SPAs on a mission to right great wrongs
  • despite the fact that no one disagrees that he was a member of the Nazi Party and anti-Semitic we get continuous personal attacks and innuendo suggesting some type of conspiracy to hide this. This doesn't help
  • we can never move on because our two minority editors will never accept a consensus so the article is not developing with the sort of open discussion we need
  • there is a separate article on Heidegger as a Nazi which deals with that subject. This article is about Heidegger the founder of existentialism and per ALL Third-Party sources identified to date one of the major figures in modern philosophy if not of all time. This wikipedia article plays more emphasis on the Nazi issue that any of the third party sources we have discovered todate.

So I am not clear that an RfC could be formulated or a result would be accepted. I think, if we are to avoid ANI, that we need some mediation of the process to agree on a way forward, or at a minimum for formulating maybe two or three RfCs from a neutral perspective. I will say, from well over a decade of editing many Philosophy articles that RfCs do not attract significant numbers of other editors.

Sbelknap and VeryRarelyStable are knowledgeable editors with a particular perspective on this subject, but unless there is some mediation of process and agreement on who to resolve disputes this is going now where and while a few RfCs might be a part of the solution they are not the solution -----Snowded TALK 06:12, 28 December 2019 (UTC)

I see your case. If enough parties are interested in participating in this discussion, I am willing to moderate. signed, Rosguill talk 06:48, 28 December 2019 (UTC)
Thanks I'll encourge the others to accept - and congratulations on aquiring the mop :-)-----Snowded TALK 07:02, 28 December 2019 (UTC)
I need hardly point out we have a different perspective.
  • We feel the question "Is Heidegger notable as a philosopher or a Nazi?" is a false binary. We feel that, given the debate in present scholarship, "Both" is the most appropriate option. When we responded to the "Philosopher or Nazi?" question with "Why not both?" the reply was "Look, can we just agree the answer is 'Philosopher' and move on to the next point?" Speaking for myself, this felt like an attempt to railroad the discussion to a predetermined conclusion.
  • A point of contention for some time was a quote in the article lede which to us appeared to be unbalanced. It described Heidegger as an "important" philosopher, but was excerpted from a sentence describing him as both "important" and "controversial"; we believed the quote should include both. Edits to that end were repeatedly reverted – until another editor, new to the page, changed it to include the fuller sentence but also at the same time made the reference to Heidegger's Nazism in the lede much less direct. That inclusion of the full quote was suddenly acceptable, while attempts to restore the direct statement about Heidegger's Nazism (which we had agreed on some months before) were now repeatedly reverted. We find it difficult to explain this change of tack except on the hypothesis that someone has an agenda to place a sinking lid on the notability of Heidegger's Nazism. It is not the only edit that is easiest to explain on that hypothesis, but it is the one that is hardest to explain on any other hypothesis. This is the "innuendo suggesting some type of conspiracy" that Sbelknap refers to.
I have let pass content decisions of greater import that I disagreed with on other articles. Indeed, it so happens that the current lede does have the direct statement of Heidegger's Nazism. What concerns me is that it appears, based on the Talk discussion and the edit history, that a couple of editors here have discovered a simple strategy to keep the article the way they want it: revert edits, repeat assertions in the Talk page, and prevent a consensus from forming at any other position. I therefore fear that once we have rein to edit again, that direct statement may soon disappear.
I say "a couple of editors". One editor in particular does most of the reverting. One other takes charge of the Talk discussions when these issues are raised and repeats the same points at us. A third argues earnestly that Heidegger was not in fact a Nazi. The remaining two of the five that I have listed here just pitch in at times to support them.
(When the debate shifts from Nazism to whether the philosophical sections need to be made more readable, for the most part the same parties form, but Epinoia in particular has been more sympathetic to us on that issue and helped out with untangling some of the dense prose. Still, we get the same editor reverting most of our edits. The objections we've been given to making these sections readable tend to waver between "It's already readable" and "It's Heidegger, it can't be made readable". On this issue I have no problem with the content of the sections at all, except that I can't make head or tail of what that content actually is.)
We have had a couple of editors – Chumchum7 and TonyClarke – come by and try and help us sort things out. TonyClarke basically suggested what our side already wants: that the article should reflect the controversy in Heidegger scholarship. Chumchum7 tried to help us unknot the comprehensibility issue, pointed out that the lede should mention any notable controversies, and found the same frustration we were finding with the person who kept reverting things. There have also been a few other editors over time who have made edits, had them reverted, and disappeared again.
At this point the article, and the lede in particular, has been pushed and pulled back and forth so much that it no longer makes very much sense. That's why I don't think just letting things lie as they've fallen is going to be a viable option in the long term. I agree on this at least: we need some form of mediation.
Let me mention again: I'm going to be away from the internet for about a week over New Year, and won't be able to reply here. Please don't take my silence as an indication that I'm not interested in reaching a resolution.
VeryRarelyStable (talk) 08:07, 28 December 2019 (UTC)
Please refrain from making back and forth arguments at this time. There is no need for any rebuttals just yet. Happy new year to all and we'll resume this in 2020 if enough of the involved editors wish to participate. signed, Rosguill talk 08:12, 28 December 2019 (UTC)
I invited both TonyClarke and Chumchum7 to this -----Snowded TALK 08:38, 28 December 2019 (UTC)
  • Volunteer Note - I have looked over this dispute and I see that User:Rosguill has already addressed it (although not yet marked the case as being discussed), but I will comment anyway. It appears that the focus of the discussion should be on formulating one or more Requests for Comment, because this seems to be a case where the opinions are sufficiently well-established and disparate that there isn't likely to be a compromise. If the purpose of the discussion is to formulate the RFC or RFCs clearly, then I offer my thanks and support to User:Rosguill, and think that I will take part in the matter as an editor. If anyone thinks that persuasion is likely to avoid the need for an RFC, then I wish that I could be that optimistic. Thank you, Rosguill. Robert McClenon (talk) 18:59, 28 December 2019 (UTC)
My view is that there has to be a mediated pre-process before we get the RfCs or the whole sorry saga will just carry on repeating itself. At the moment we have the assertion that selections of primary sources have equal value with third-party sources such as other encyclopedias. The most recent attempt to isolate an issue (if the primary notability was as a philosopher) produced a unanimous conclusion from all third party sources that he was and five of the participating editors in agreement. Two refused to accept that consensus and move on to the next subject. The assertion of those two editors is that they represent wikipedia policy. Independent formulation of RfCs will help but there first needs to be clear criteria established/explained/agreed. Just look at the history here! -----Snowded TALK 06:00, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
I have, by now, grown used to being misrepresented in this discussion, but for the benefit of outsiders let me reiterate a couple of things:
  • We are asserting that secondary sources, not primary sources, are of similar value to tertiary sources.
  • The "primary notability" dispute is not about "Is Heidegger notable as a philosopher first and something else second, or as something else first and as a philosopher second?"; it's about "Is Heidegger's philosophy primarily notable as philosophy simpliciter, or is its alleged connection with his Nazi politics the primary aspect of its notability?" That is to say, "Is Heidegger notable as a philosopher or as a Nazi philosopher?"
  • Heidegger scholars themselves do not agree as to the above question; we read Wikipedia policy as therefore saying that the article should reflect the debate in scholarship rather than picking a side.
VeryRarelyStable (talk) 08:25, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
  • Volunteer Note - I will advise the two editors who want a discussion in order to change the consensus that the use of DRN as a way for a minority of editors to bludgeon a discussion is marginally permitted by Wikipedia policy but very unlikely to be effective. The most likely result is that it will not change anything, but will result in the one or two editors acquiring reputations for being combative. The next most likely result is that discussion will fail, and will go to WP:ANI, and one or more editors will be topic-banned. The third most likely result is that the article will be changed to reflect the viewpoint that had been the minority. If the two editors still want to proceed, there is a mediator ready to work on the RFC. Robert McClenon (talk) 15:22, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
The suggestion to seek comment from other editors did not originate with those in the minority. We were repeatedly advised by some in the majority to seek such counsel. My understanding is that the desire for assistance from other editors is not limited to the minority. If you can help all of us improve this article, that would be great, and I would be appreciative of this.Sbelknap (talk) 02:18, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
I concur. —VeryRarelyStable (talk) 08:25, 5 January 2020 (UTC)

What about other editors that have previously made contributions to the Martin Heidegger article, such as @Process2, @JonathanMarkOfVirginia, @Eitje01, @Jmg38, @PaulBommel, and others? Would it be reasonable to also invite them to this discussion? Sbelknap (talk) 04:18, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

Sbelknap, DRN is a voluntary process, and other editors may participate if they wish. That having been said, things do get a bit unwieldy when many editors are involved, so if those editors have not been involved in the most recent dispute, I'm not sure it's useful to invite them at this time. My guess is that going through DRN will likely result in us still not having a consensus, but having a clearer idea of the core issues and arguments, such that an RfC can be easily drafted. Other editors who have edited the article in the past may find it more fruitful to join once the RfC is underway. signed, Rosguill talk 00:09, 31 December 2019 (UTC)

VeryRarelyStable, it is the new year and I see that you are back online. Are you ready for this DRN process to begin? signed, Rosguill talk 19:50, 5 January 2020 (UTC)

I thought it had already begun. I haven't been involved in a DRN process before, I thought this was it. Yes, I'm ready. —VeryRarelyStable (talk) 00:40, 6 January 2020 (UTC)

(Heidegger) First statement by moderatorEdit

Ok, in that case I think that we're ready to begin. Please keep your comments clear and concise, refrain from making any edits to Martin Heidegger that relate to the issues at hand while the dispute resolution process is ongoing, and review WP:DRN Rule A before responding. Do not engage in back-and-forth discussion here unless I explicitly give you space to do so. Focus on content and avoid commenting on other editor's behavior.


Sbelknap, Snowded, Freeknowledgecreator, Tgeorgescu, Epinoia, Martinevans123 VeryRarelyStable, could each participant please state below, in one paragraph or less, what they want changed in the article or the specific changes to the article that they oppose, as well as a brief justification? If your position does not significantly differ from a position that someone else has already written in their first statement, please just state that. signed, Rosguill talk 22:52, 6 January 2020 (UTC)

(Heidegger) First statements by participantsEdit

  • Martin Heidegger is notable for being a philosopher AND for being a Nazi. There is a large and growing body of high-quality secondary sources that rely on Heidegger's Schwarze Hefte and correspondence between Martin Heidegger and his brother Fritz[2] that bear on Heidegger's Nazism and evidence that his Nazism influenced his philosophy. Currently, the Heidegger biography in wikipedia has been split into two articles, Martin Heidegger and Martin Heidegger and Nazism. This split into two separate articles is emblematic of the problem, as the edit history for the Martin Heidegger articles shows a concerted effort to obscure Heidegger's Nazism. My contention, which is supported by extensive published scholarly works, is that Heidegger's notability is due to BOTH his philosophy AND his Nazism. The problem would be best resolved (in my view) by merging these two articles into one, by updating content in the new article to reflect secondary sources that describe the relation between his Nazism and his philosophy, and by emphasizing that all editors respect the guidelines and rules that govern wikipedia editing. Sbelknap (talk) 00:30, 7 January 2020 (UTC)
  • All the reliable third party sources (encyclopedias etc.) I have researched acknowledge that Heidegger was a Nazi, generally in one paragraph, with many many paragraphs talking about him as the founder of existentialism. The balance of the current article places greater emphasis on his Nazism than those sources but I don't advocate changing that aspect. However the attempts to emphasis it and give it equal status I oppose and also the merging of the articles. The third-party sources also say that his Nazism arose from his dislike of Industrialism in the US and Soviet Union; we do need to add in that dislike as that is sourced and important. There is a group of writers who feel that his Philosophy was influenced by antisemitism. That is a view we should report (no one has opposed doing that) but it is by no means a universal view and is opposed so we can't endorse it with Wikipedia's voice. He was an incompetent Nazi and if he hadn't been the founder of existentialism no one would know who he was and he would not have a Wikipedia page. We also need respect for Wikipedia process, if five editors agree on something against two, then the two should accept it or call an RfC not persist in the argument. The personal attacks and innuendo have got to stop although that might be a separate matter for ANI. TALK 06:52, 7 January 2020 (UTC)
  • I do not oppose the edits of the other party, I just think that the proper article for their edits is Martin Heidegger and Nazism. An article should not be exceedingly long, and exceedingly long articles have to be split. The mentioned article exists, and the topic is WP:N, according to WP:RS. But there is no Adolf Eichmann and Nazism, since Eichmann is only notable due to being a Nazi. Tgeorgescu (talk) 17:56, 7 January 2020 (UTC)
  • It obviously is not true that "Heidegger was notable for being a Nazi". That is a nonsensical statement, given that many, many Nazis are of course totally obscure individuals with no claim to being important historical figures. As such, nobody is notable simply for having been a Nazi. Oppose any edits made on the basis of the false suggestion that Heidegger was notable for being a Nazi. Freeknowledgecreator (talk) 10:37, 7 January 2020 (UTC)
  • I have added myself to the list of participants. I think that the current lede section is satisfactory in that it deals first with Heidegger's role as a prominent Continental philosopher and secondarily with his Nazism. I agree that there should be a separate article on his Nazism, because that is distinct from his role as a philosopher. Robert McClenon (talk) 00:38, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
  • I endorse Sbelknap's suggestions, including merging the two articles. If that is deemed unsuitable then there needs to be more content in the present article detailing the debate concerning how much Heidegger's philosophy reflected his commitment to Nazism. Of course one side of the debate is the view that they are unrelated, and I would want to see fair representation of that side's arguments just as I would for the side that claims they are intimately connected. I just don't want that side to be presented as the winner by default. On the second head of disagreement – what Heidegger's philosophy actually means and how we can summarize it in language of an appropriate reading level – we obviously need a Heidegger expert's help interpreting it; unfortunately (as one finds with experts in any field) those who have tried to help so far underestimate the difficulty non-experts have with the technicalities that are familiar to them. At the very least, I would like the "incomprehensible" tags I put on the Philosophy sections to remain there until they really are readable to a non-expert; and when we non-experts try to reword parts of them and get the substance wrong, I would like some guidance asking the experts to rewrite those parts to be both correct and readable rather than reverting it to the allegedly correct but unreadable existing text. —VeryRarelyStable (talk) 00:41, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
  • Martin Heidegger is most notable as a philosopher as evidenced by the large number of Heidegger scholars listed in Category:Heidegger scholars, the number of prominent people he influenced (see article info box), and sources such as the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy which states that he had "a seminal influence on the development of contemporary European philosophy." His influence would not have been so extensive if he were primarily a Nazi philosopher. This also contradicts the claim his work is nonsense, as no one writing nonsense would have such a wide influence. Other similarly controversial figures, such as Ezra Pound (a fascist and traitor), Gertrude Stein (worked for the Vichy government), E.E. Cummings (a racist), Allen Ginsberg (a pedophile), are all known primarily for their contributions in their respective fields; this same weighting applies to Heidegger. (WP:WEIGHT) Heidegger's Nazi affiliations are well covered in the article in the lead and the sections "Heidegger and the Nazi Party" and "The Farías debate". I oppose the merging of the content fork article "Martin Heidegger and Nazism" as it would make the main article too long. "Martin Heidegger and Nazism" is one of many content fork articles on Heidegger, such as Heideggerian terminology, Dasein, Thrownness, Being and Time, etc. Content forking is an acceptable, and often encouraged, way of making articles clearer and easier to manage. (WP:CFORK) There is controversy over how much Heidegger's Nazism influenced his work. As the controversy is ongoing, it should be noted in the article without taking sides or giving prominence to fringe views in keeping with a neutral point of view. - Epinoia (talk) 17:56, 8 January 2020 (UTC)

(Heidegger) Second statement by moderatorEdit

In people's first statements, most editors have focused on the issue of whether the articles Martin Heidegger and Martin Heidegger and Nazism should be merged. Some other suggestions, such as simplifying the article's prose, have also been suggested. For the sake of streamlining this discussion, I would propose that we focus on the question of whether or not to merge the articles; questions of reading level can be resolved afterward, although those issues would ideally be best resolved just by making appropriate copy edits where possible, rather than through a formal discussion.

VeryRarelyStable and Sbelknap have advocated merging the articles. However, they have not specified exactly which content should be merged. Could these two editors please clarify whether they think that the entire content of the two articles should be merged, or whether there are only specific sections or claims in the Nazism article that need to be merged, as well as whether there is any information in the main article that they feel should be cut to accommodate the merge? I would note that the current revisions of both these articles are around 60k characters long. WP:SIZERULE states that even articles with 60k characters of prose should probably be divided, whereas articles with >100k characters should almost certainly be divided. As this is a guideline, there is room to argue against its recommendation, but given that editors advocating for a merge are already in the minority, I think the likelihood of the community forming a consensus in favor of a complete merge is very low. signed, Rosguill talk 22:00, 10 January 2020 (UTC)

As an addendum, it would appear that the current section on Nazism in Martin Heidegger is about 10.5k characters long and the lead of Martin Heidegger and Nazism is about 2k characters long, so a total merge of the two articles that replaces the existing content of the existing Nazism section with the non-redundant content of the Nazism article would likely result in an article with about 108k characters of prose. signed, Rosguill talk 22:05, 10 January 2020 (UTC)


(Heidegger) Clarifying comments from pro-merge editorsEdit

Wikipedia biographies of modern intellectuals are often (usually?) longer than 100K, because we have their works, their influence on other intellectuals, and the course of their lives to consider. The biography of Ludwig Wittgenstein is 135K (exclusive of citations and bibliography), and is better written than the Heidegger article. If one reads the wikipedia biographies of Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Rawls, Russell, Quine, Sartre and others, it seems unreasonable to compress these biographies of philosophers to 60K or even 100K.

I propose merging the Martin Heidegger article and the Martin Heidegger and Nazism article into a single Martin Heidegger article. There is some overlap between the two articles, so simply adding up the number of characters in the two articles to estimate the length of the combined text is not reasonable. I expect we would all agree with VeryRarelyStable that neither general readers nor scholars will find much of use in the description of Heidegger's philosophy in the current article. It would benefit from the same concision that is found in wikipedia biographies of other prominent philosophers. Based on my reading of both Heidegger articles, I expect that the merged Martin Heidegger article would be about 110K in length, after concision of bloat and duplication plus addition of material on Nazism.

Finally, several engaged editors assert that tertiary sources give short shrift to Heidegger's Nazism, but what they cite are encyclopedias of philosophy in support of this assertion. Britannica and other general interest encyclopedias devote more than a single paragraph to Heidegger's Nazism. I would suggest that biographical encyclopedias would be more relevant as tertiary sources than encyclopedias of philosophy. Sbelknap (talk) 01:42, 11 January 2020 (UTC)

I would reiterate that some scholars believe Heidegger's philosophy and his Nazism are intimately connected. There's a range of positions on the topic but at least some would hold that either the philosophy was devised to justify the Nazism, or the Nazism was an expression of the philosophy. Once again, no-one wants Wikipedia to present these positions simply as the fact of the matter; the point is that, since this is a live controversy in scholarship, we don't believe their negation should be presented simply as the fact of the matter either (you may note above that at least one of the opposing party does want precisely that).
The reason why I'm belabouring this point, having made it before, is that the current split between, effectively, a Heidegger's philosophy article and a Heidegger's Nazism article does give the misleading impression that it is already settled that the two are unconnected except for the coincidence of involving the same individual. And it's not just that it gives the impression; it's that it makes it hard to discuss the connections that some scholars allege between the two, because if you're discussing it in the Philosophy article you have to import a bunch of the Nazism stuff for background, and if you're discussing it in the Nazism article you have to import a bunch of the Philosophy stuff for background.
In the interests of fairly presenting both sides of a live controversy, therefore, as Wikipedia policy recommends, I would ideally like to see the two articles merged, with some telescoping of both. Failing a merger, this article should have a few sentences inserted in the Philosophy sections at appropriate points to say something along the lines of "Some scholars argue that Heidegger's Nazism influenced his concept of [X] in the following way... Other scholars dispute this on the grounds that..." And then, if possible, a one-sentence summary of these disputes in the lede, to follow the one about "there is controversy regarding the degree to which his Nazism influenced his philosophy".
VeryRarelyStable (talk) 09:43, 11 January 2020 (UTC)

(Heidegger) Third statement by moderatorEdit

Thank you for the clarifications. In order to more clearly establish what the appropriate amount of weight for Nazi-related content is, I think it would be helpful if people could provide citations to reliable sources covering Heidegger's career as a whole (whether focusing on his biography or on the body of his work, but preferably not sources that focus on a singular concept from Heidegger's philosophy), with a brief summary stating what proportion of the cited source is spent on Heidegger's Nazi affiliations, and also what proportion is spent on the influence of Nazism in Heidegger's philosophy relative to coverage of his philosophy as a whole. I think that it could also be pertinent to provide citations to newer literature with a narrower focus, if there is reason to believe that this reflects a new consensus about the relative importance of Nazism in Heidegger's work that may not be reflected in older publications.

Additionally, I would ask anti-merge editors to comment on whether VeryRarelyStable's suggestion in the final paragraph of the above section is an acceptable compromise. This does not preclude further discussion of the matter as a whole, I just want to get a sense of where people stand on possible compromises. signed, Rosguill talk 19:26, 11 January 2020 (UTC)


I see no real justification for a merge. The "both sides of a live controversy" should be covered in Martin Heidegger and Nazism with adequate signposting from all of the relevant sections in Martin Heidegger. That article is titled Martin Heidegger not "Philosophy of Martin Heidegger", so there needs to be some overlap with Martin Heidegger and Nazism. Martinevans123 (talk) 11:40, 12 January 2020 (UTC)

(Heidegger) Collection of sources for assessment of due weightEdit

Critical Horizons 19:4 entire issue on Heidegger & Nazism (link here is to editor's introduction)[3]

  • Encylopedia Brittania and this article have 20% of the content referencing Nazi aspects but Brittania doesn't have an additional article on Nazism. If we combine the two and assume considerable pruning then Wikipedia is well over 30%, well out of alignment with other third-party sources. Worst still when you see that Stanford and the Oxford Companion have only 3% and 2% respectively. Stanford also argues that people should recognize him as a philosopher and stop trying to link everything to Nazism. -----Snowded TALK 12:35, 12 January 2020 (UTC)

(Heidegger) Anti-merge editors' response to VeryRarelyStable's compromise suggestionEdit

  • The assertion by some authors that his philosophy is influenced by ant-Semitism is a current controversy which we should report - one or maybe two paragraphs. From my reading the perspective in that work is not reflected in the Heidegger literature as a whole therefore that should be the limit. For that reason, VeryRarelyStable's suggestion should be rejected as it gives disproportionate weight to one perspective and the proposal illustrates the problem with the history here, namely the attempt to ensure that nothing is said about Heidegger which does not mention the Nazi issue. I am not necessarily anti-merge by the way, if the results of the merge are references to his Nazi past in the merged article are proportionate to that in the third party sources that look at him as a whole, not a partial selection of a particular perspective and if the merge is carried out by an independent editor.-----Snowded TALK 12:39, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
  • Heidegger's philosophical works are not overtly fascist, Nazi or anti-semitic - if they were, he would not have gained the prominence as a philosopher that he did - Being & Time was published 6 years before he joined the Nazi party and he was lecturing on the question of Being and St Paul back in 1915, so the basis of his philosophy was forming before the Nazis came to power - because of his Christian background, his works could just as easily be seen to have a Christian foundation than a Nazi foundation (see "Heidegger and Theology" by Judith Wolfe, 2014) - as Heidegger is most notable as an existential philosopher, not as a Nazi philosopher, his Nazi affiliations should be presented with due weight - I believe the article as it stands gives due weight to his Nazism and oppose the merge with the "Martin Heidegger and Nazism" article - Epinoia (talk) 17:14, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
  • Yup, unlike Johannes Stark, Heidegger was not condemned to jail time. So the denazification authorities did not consider Heidegger as either dangerous or guilty of crimes. Believe me, I read lot of Heidegger's works when I was interested in his works, and none of them sound like Nazism, none of them advocate killing the Jews or push a racist POV. Heidegger's antisemitic prejudices are rather unremarkable, given his social environment (my teacher, Olga Amsterdamska, told that in the 19th century one was either a racist or a socialist—yup, the luminaries of statistics were mostly advocates of racism and devised statistical tests as a way of demonstrating racist claims). And Heidegger might have professed a "metaphysical antisemitism", which would be more properly called culture-ism per nl:Willem Schinkel. So, no, WP:GEVAL applies and the two sides of the debate should not be given equal weight. One of the sides is about hard facts, the other about mere opinions (guessiology). E.g. Heidegger did not write political philosophy; he could have pushed racism, the regime would have supported him in doing it, but he did not do it. As Friederich Nietzsche, he has been smeared of making Nazism possible. But if you look at who loved their writings, they were the darlings of the leftists. And the philosophers who have testified that his philosophy is poison, they would have regarded it as poison regardless of whether he supported or opposed Nazism. Their choice was made, they were not willing to be confused with the facts. Therefore: no to the merge. Tgeorgescu (talk) 16:06, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
  • I am not an expert on Heidegger, but I will offer my comments, and will agree that Heidegger is remembered as a major twentieth-cetury existentialist philosopher who was also a Nazi. A question that some late-twentieth-century philosophers have addressed is how early-twentieth-century philosophy was compatible with Nazism, or whether there was a mistake in the development of German philosoophy so that it (or at least some strands of it) permitted Nazism. As a non-expert, my first thought is that the most important ethical principle that was originated by a German philosopher was the categorical imperative of Kant. The categorical imperative forbids insincere actions, but it does not forbid fanatical actions. My second thought is that existentialism does not provide an ethical framework, because existence precedes essence. (Sartre's existentialism led him to oppose the Nazi occupation.) The fact that Heidegger's philosophy was consistent with Nazism may be a limitation or critique of existentialism or of German non-rationalistic philosophy. The point is that Heidegger's Nazism sheds light (or darkness) on his philosophy. I disagree with a merge, but will not offer any citations, and I probably won't take any further part in this discussion. Robert McClenon (talk) 00:38, 18 January 2020 (UTC)

ReflistEdit

  1. ^ Wolin, Richard. "The French Heidegger Debate." New German Critique, no. 45 (1988): 135-61. doi:10.2307/488100.
  2. ^ Matthew Sharpe (2018) Heidegger in 2018: Editor-translator’s Introduction, Critical Horizons, 19:4, 271-273, DOI: 10.1080/14409917.2018.1520503
  3. ^ Matthew Sharpe (2018) Heidegger in 2018: Editor-translator’s Introduction, Critical Horizons, 19:4, 271-273, DOI: 10.1080/14409917.2018.1520503

occupational stressEdit

  – General close. See comments for reasoning.
Filed by Lightningstrikers on 04:19, 9 January 2020 (UTC).

Cenk UygurEdit

  – General close. See comments for reasoning.
Filed by Cacash refund on 21:55, 9 January 2020 (UTC).

PashtunsEdit

  – General close. See comments for reasoning.
Filed by Casperti on 00:13, 10 January 2020 (UTC).