Taking the measure of the Beiträge: Heidegger, national socialism and the calculation of the political

Stuart Elden

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16 Citations (Scopus)


This article provides a political reading of Martin Heidegger's Beiträge zur Philosophie (Vom Ereignis). One of the central themes of the Beiträge is crucial to understanding why Heidegger moved into a position of critical distance from the Nazi regime, because it is an attempt to comprehend what lies behind the events of the time. This is the notion of the politics of calculation, the issue of measure, which relates closely to Heidegger's late concerns with technology. Through readings of Heidegger on Protagoras and Descartes, the role of calculation in the forgetting of being, and the notions of machination, race, and worldview, I show how the Beiträge, and particularly its explicit political context, is valuable in evaluating Heidegger's own career, his political position and politics more generally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-56
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Theory
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Calculation
  • Descartes
  • Heidegger
  • National Socialism
  • Politics
  • Technology

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