Germany, Heidegger and Decolonisation: A Critique of Cosmopolitanism and the Place Europe in a Pluriversal World Order

    • Cover Porto 2017
    • Presentation speakers
      • Firat M. Haciahmetoglu, KU Leuven


    This paper will show that “the West” can be analysed as a peculiar way of engaging with the world that consists in emptying the places of the other peoples of their inherent meaning in order to advance one’s own place forward in time and that modern Germany history was marked by a peculiar confrontation with “the West”, which led to the Third Reich (Bavaj & Steber 2015). It will argue further that the phenomenological project of Martin Heidegger (1889–1976) emerged in a critical period of German history and is a philosophical engagement in Germany’s confrontation with “the West.” The purpose of this study is twofold. Firstly, by exploring and analysing the significance and emergence of the phenomenological project of Heidegger, it aims to show that phenomenology is a unique discipline that emerged in confrontation with “the West” in the spirit of a decolonial project from the very outset. Decolonial here refers to the place-oriented (topological) studies which articulates the concept of place as that in which meaning and human beings historically come to one another. This will help me to put forward an alternative (i.e., decolonial) way of thinking about the world which has a non-reactionary relationship with “the West” (Elden 2001; Farin 2016; Malpas 2006; Phillips 2005). Secondly, it aims to raise a critique of postcolonial studies, which completely ignores (1) Germany’s conflictual relationship with “the West”, and (2) the place-oriented phenomenological thinking that emerges from this confrontation. It therefore also aims to contribute a new, non-reactionary, topological perspective to the research on the decolonisation struggle of postcolonial/non-western nations which is oriented and motivated by global justice. As part of this perspective, a new concept of cosmopolitanism, which may be called pluriversalism, will be developed; and it will in short argue that no place can have a monopoly on truth and impose it on other places. Lastly, Europe’s role and place within this new world order will be discussed.