This pathway takes us through language in a very peculiar way; Heidegger does not provide us with definitions of terms, in fact, he warns us that definitional thinking conceals Thinking.Definitional thinking treats words as the conjunction of “sound-structure and sense-content”, words are just the containers of meaning, “mere kegs and buckets”.
This is the demand that rational thought places upon an encounter with a tree, we let the thing be determined from out of the mode of eternalized essences, whether we appeal to a dictionary definition of a tree or think that the essence of matter is atoms and molecules and forces at play.
There is the appearance of the tree and there is what the tree really is, behind the appearance.
Instead of providing definitions and proceeding from these abstractions, Heidegger simply uses language.
He repeats a word again and again, in slightly different contexts with slight variations of meaning.
The representational idea that appears in ones mind is compared with the universal idea, the eternal essence of the thing as the specific thing that it is.
Introductory Philosophy courses often resort to questions about chairs, what exactly about this particular chair makes it an instance of “chairness”, and Plato’s answer is that the actual chair is but an imperfect instantiation of the Ideal Chair.
But Heidegger’s legacy also bears a dark stain, one that his influence has never quite managed to wash out.
Heidegger joined the Nazi Party in the spring of 1933, ran the University of Freiburg on behalf of the regime, and gave impassioned speeches in support of Adolf Hitler at key moments, including during the plebiscites in the fall of 1933, which solidified popular support for Nazi policies.
Freiburg came under French control, and the new authorities there forced Heidegger into retirement and forbade him from teaching.
But in 1950, the now-independent university revoked the ban.