I spend a great deal of life reading Heidegger. He is the greatest philosopher of the modern era… He is, of course, an ultimately modern philosopher & if I can summon the courage I would like to write an account of why his criticism of Plato is not true.
George Grant to Peter Self, 1987
I The DilemmaI have had an interest in Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger for many a decade, and I have had the good fortune to spend time at Nietzsche’s home in Sils Maria in the Engadine Valley in Switzerland. I have also lingered at Heidegger’s Hut (where he brought some of his finer students) at Todtnauburg south of Freiburg (where Heidegger taught for many years) in Southern Germany. I have trekked most of the trails Nietzsche did in the mountains in the Engadine and sat where he had his epiphany of the “eternal recurrence of the identical”. I have rambled round the upland ridge above the Hut and walking path where Heidegger often walked with peers and students. I have done my best to read much of Nietzsche and Heidegger’s writings (most in English, some in German) and various commentaries on both men (given their boosters and knockers). I have also been fortunate to read most of George Grant’s published (and unpublished writers) in which he engages Nietzsche and Heidegger and ponders their appeal and limitations. This short article, for the most part, lights down on Grant’s read of Nietzsche and Heidegger and reflects why, by day’s end, he parted paths with them and viewed Plato (and Platonic Christianity) as a sounder waymark and pathfinder than Nietzsche and Heidegger’s read of Classical Greek philosophy, tragic literature and the meaning and ongoing significance of philosophy.
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