Below is an introductory essay on Heidegger and his infamous activities, written by two serious and legitimate academic philosophers. Apparently the text is originally from the book A Companion to Heidegger. I found it a very useful introduction.
I lifted it off the official website for a new movie by Tao Ruspoli called Being in the World. From what I can tell the movie looks fascinating, combining sophisticated philosophical speculation with riffs of insight from Jazz musicians and artists. Enjoy:
Martin Heidegger: An Introduction to His Thought, Work, and LifeRead More: Here
By Hubert Dreyfus & Mark Wrathall
Martin Heidegger is one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century. His work has been appropriated by scholars in fields as diverse as philosophy, classics, psychology, literature, history, sociology, anthropology, political science, religious studies, and cultural studies.
At the same time, he is a notoriously difficult philosopher to understand. The way he wrote was, in part, a result of the fact that he is deliberately trying to break with the philosophical tradition. One way of breaking with the tradition is to coin neologisms, hat is, to invent words which will, in virtue of their originality, be free of any philosophical baggage, This is a method that Heidegger frequently employed, but at the cost of considerable intelligibility. In addition, Heidegger believed his task was to provoke his readers to thoughtfulness rather than provide them with a facile answer to a well defined problem. He thus wrote in ways that would challenge the reader to reflection.
For all Heidegger's emphasis on the history of philosophy, he had little interest in the historiographical details about the lives of the philosophers he studied. In his introduction to a lecture course on Schelling, for example, he claimed that " `the life' of a philosopher remains unimportant," at least where we have access to his work, or even "pieces and traces of his work." This is because, he explained, "we never come to know the actuality of a philosophical existence through a biography" (GA 42: 7). For him, philosophers were of interest because of what they could contribute to our own efforts to grapple with philosophical problems. He thus refused "to fill the hours with stories of the lives and fortunes of the old thinkers," because that "does not add anything to the understanding of the problem" (GA 22: 12).
He did, however, occasionally offer "some rough indications of the external course of life" of the thinker (in the Schelling lecture course, for example), in order to "place this course of life more clearly into the known history of the time" (GA 42: 7). In a similar way, we think that Heidegger's notorious involvement in his historical time justifies some such indication of the "external course of his life."
[and a tip of my hat to Enowning for pointing me to this resource]
if you want to learn more about Heidegger on this blog click: here