Portrait of German philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889 - 1976), 1958. (Photo by Fred Stein Archive/Archive Photos/Getty Images) Portrait of German philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889 - 1976), 1958. (Photo by Fred Stein Archive/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

German philosopher Martin Heidegger is 127 today!

Today marks the 127th birthday of one who is considered to be among the most original and influential philosophers of the 20th century. Today, we take a look back on the life of German philosopher Martin Heidegger. Born in a rural town in Germany on September 26, 1889, Martin was raised in a poor, Roman Catholic household. Due to his family’s inability to pay for his education, he was sent to a Jesuit seminary where he studied for only a few weeks before being sent away due to a heart condition.

“The possible ranks higher than the actual.” – Martin Heidegger

With the support of the church, Martin later studied theology at the University of Freiburg with the agreement that he would endorse their teachings. Despite their support, he parted ways with Catholicism and began studying philosophy and finished his doctoral thesis in 1914. For the next two years, Martin taught at the university without salary. He served in WWI as a solider in the final year of the war.

“The most thought-provoking thing in our thought-provoking time is that we are still not thinking.” – Martin Heidegger

By 1923, Martin was serving as a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Marburg. Following on the heels of Aristotle, the theme of his lectures questioned the sense of being. Four years later, he published Being and Time and later accepted a position as Professor of Philosophy at the University of Freiburg where he taught for the remainder of his life, despite multiple offers from other academic institutions and his involvement with the Nazi Party, of which he was a member until 1945. This began in 1933 when Martin became part of the Socialist German Worker’s Party and revealed his support for a German revolution and for Adolf Hitler. His enthusiasm about his participation in the Party is noted by historians as well as the fact that his resignation was fueled more from his inability to take the role of philosopher of the Party rather than his morals. He was able to continue lecturing at the university until his death in 1973.

“Thinking begins only when we have come to know that reason, glorified for centuries, is the stiff-necked adversary of thought.” – Martin Heidegger

Martin Heidegger is well known for his contributions to existentialism, though his philosophy comes with much controversy. A proud supporter of the Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler, his examination of the Nazi’s rise to power, their history as well as philosophy is assembled in his book German Existentialism. Considered to be one of the most controversial texts available, Martin Heidegger expresses his views on the National Socialist Party and their journey to domination. Also by Martin Heidegger and less of a controversial read is a collection of his essays titled Essays in Metaphysics. Here, the reader is able to glean more than just a glimpse inside the philosopher as a deeper study into the author is available for the taking. In this book, his views on religion, history, language and technology are shared. While it is said that Martin Heidegger’s more sensitive side is revealed within these pages, it is up to each reader to analyze this assessment. For more information on these titles, please click here.

Man acts as though he were the shaper and master of language, while in fact language remains the master of man” – Martin Heidegger



Martin Heidegger. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved September 21, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Heidegger

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