Introduction I

of Western philosophy, issues an original and serious challenge to the human race, but especially to Westerners. To the extent that fostering a healthier human condition holds implications for social ontology, ethics, philosophy of liberation, and spiritual freedom, Heidegger’s deliberately suprapolitical corpus allows feminist theorists to engage and learn from his thought.1

It would be a laughable exaggeration to claim that feminist theory and praxis in the United States has sought out and mined Heidegger as a central resource. The reasons that feminist scholars shy away from Heidegger stem from the suprapolitical, seemingly esoteric, and nonempirical nature of his thought. The simple truth is that Heidegger’s thought resists usage, ‘‘being put to work’’ for ends of any kind, in a fundamental way. Ironically, for this very same reason Heidegger’s thought exerts its own quiet draw. Considerably greater interest in Heidegger exists among female scholars than many realize, an interest that has yet to be made intelligible to a wide audience and understood in itself. It is, thus, imperative to note that this anthology has important precursors, some of whose pioneering efforts are not represented here but will be detailed below. The essays here collected, even when written by some of the pioneers, are primarily newly written contributions to that earlier phase of scholarship.2

This anthology, being a collection in one volume of an array of approaches to Heidegger, is a first step toward making visible the extent and range of women’s interest in Heideggerian themes, without claim to comprehensive representation of those interests. The collection of essays in this anthology both reflect the insights of and expand upon the pioneering feminist explorations that have to date not been regarded as a distinct body of work. They offer original and constructive ways to flesh out key Heideggerian concepts in order to reveal their import for feminist theorizing. Martin Heidegger is undoubtedly one of the most seminal thinkers in twentieth-century philosophy. Yet in spite of the massive body of secondary scholarship that exists in English, the place of Heidegger’s immense legacy in shaping twentieth-century philosophy remains to be assessed. This anthology contributes to that evaluation by offering a range of considerations, both critical and appreciative, of the significance of Heideggerian thought. The aim is to do so from the standpoint of its potential contribution to feminist philosophy, even though advancing feminism was not a stated intent of Heidegger’s authorship.

The main aspirations of this anthology are, thus, three. First, the aim is to give the reader an overview of work that illuminates Heidegger’s

Nancy Holland and Patricia Huntington - Feminist Interpretations of Martin Heidegger