In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Martin Heidegger: Early Works

  • Introduction
  • Introductions and General Overviews
  • Anthologies
  • The Young Heidegger
  • The Critique of Cartesian Skepticism
  • Truth
  • Realism and Idealism
  • Authenticity
  • Time, History, and Method
  • Influence and Reception
  • Later Heidegger
  • Life and Nazism

Philosophy Martin Heidegger: Early Works
Denis McManus
  • LAST REVIEWED: 29 August 2012
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 August 2012
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0053


Martin Heidegger (1889–1976) is often described as one of the great philosophers of the 20th century. What is offered here addresses primarily his early work and, even so, only scratches the surface. As with all the great philosophers, there are different schools of thought on how Heidegger’s work should be read, and certain interpretive biases shape this bibliography. First, although Heidegger is perhaps the quintessential Continental philosopher, one of the distinguishing features of more recent work on Heidegger is the emergence of commentators with a background in analytic philosophy, and such “analytic” readings loom large in the present bibliography. A second and related bias is toward literature that is available in English; this bias is related to the first because “analytic” commentary is characteristically written in (or finds itself translated into) English. Although it is important to draw attention to these biases, they also ought not to be overemphasized. One reason is that there is a counter-balancing trend represented here, a trend toward placing Heidegger’s work in its historical context, both by considering his most widely-read work, Being and Time (BT), in relation to his other early writings and by tracing the role played in the emergence of BT by a set of distinctive shaping influences. This approach makes difficult any simple assimilation of Heidegger’s thought to alien traditions that might blind us to what is distinctive in his thought and some of the most interesting recent work combines a broadly analytic temper with this kind of historicist sensitivity. This bibliography divides the literature up into a number of distinct categories; but, as will be apparent, there is a certain artificiality to many of the distinctions in question. Readers should take care to read the paragraph of commentary that accompanies each set of citations, as one will find references to other relevant items listed—for various reasons—under other headings; readers ought not to assume that the topics with fewest citations “of their own” are less intensively discussed or that those citations are the most important for those topics. (The literature in this area is very large and, in constructing this bibliography, assistance has been provided by Taylor Carman, Steven Crowell, Simon Glendinning, Beatrice Han-Pile, Stephen Mulhall, Iain Thomson, Mark Wrathall, and Jonathan Webber.)

Introductions and General Overviews

Being and Time’s introduction is one of the most difficult parts of the book, and those who attempt to write introductions of their own face a difficult task. But there are several worthwhile books available. Of those that focus squarely on BT, the best are Mulhall 2005 and Blattner 2006, while Polt 1999 and Wrathall 2005 usefully locate BT in relation to themes in the later work. Of the more general works available, Dreyfus 1991 is the most widely read and by far the most influential; it provides a commentary on Division 1 of BT and an appendix that critically assesses Heidegger’s notion of authenticity. Carman 2003 covers a range of topics and works hard to connect Heidegger’s concerns to those of analytic philosophers. A similar effort can be traced in Olafson 1987 and in Philipse 1998.

  • Blattner, William D. Heidegger’s Being and Time: A Reader’s Guide. London: Continuum, 2006.

    A well-respected introduction, which focuses on BT’s Division 1 and the early chapters of Division 2.

  • Carman, Taylor. Heidegger’s Analytic: Interpretation, Discourse, and Authenticity in Being and Time. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

    Examining a range of central themes in BT, with emphasis on their relation to more analytic concerns.

  • Dreyfus, Hubert L. Being-in-the-World: A Commentary on Heidegger’s Being and Time, Division 1. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991.

    The book which has probably had the strongest influence on current understandings of Heidegger.

  • Mulhall, Stephen. Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Heidegger and Being and Time. 2d ed. London: Routledge, 2005.

    One of the best introductions to BT currently available; its second edition elaborates on the themes of skepticism, anxiety, and death.

  • Olafson, Frederick. Heidegger and the Philosophy of Mind. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1987.

    The (largely quite lucid) first half of this book is devoted to BT.

  • Philipse, Herman. Heidegger’s Philosophy of Being: A Critical Interpretation. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998.

    A wide-ranging critique of Heidegger’s work.

  • Polt, Richard. Heidegger: An Introduction. London: UCL, 1999.

    A useful introduction that provides a commentary on BT and a brief survey of some of Heidegger’s best-known later works.

  • Wrathall, Mark A. How to Read Heidegger. London: Granta, 2005.

    Introduces Heidegger’s work through commentary on particular passages, some of which are from his early work.

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