History after Hiroshima:
Günther Anders and the Twentieth Century

Dissertation Proposal
by Jason Dawsey
September 2004

         In the foreword to his 1982 Ketzereien (Heresies), Günther Anders insisted that he be understood as an "advocate of militant theses (Vertreter von Kampfthesen) that at least deserve to be attacked."[1] This honor, he claimed, had yet to be bestowed on his earlier works. He urged his readers to view his heresies as antipodal to the overwhelming tendencies of the day toward conformism and orthodoxy, tendencies shared across the Cold War divide. Taking seriously Anders' request, I see this study as an attempt to grasp the contours of his most unorthodox life and thought.

            The project I am proposing is an intellectual biography of Günther Anders (1902-1992). Though receiving little sustained attention among American scholars, Anders' work has frequently been a catalyst for debate among European, especially German and Austrian, intellectuals and academics about how best to conceptualize central issues in twentieth-century European and world history: the impact of technology on all spheres of life; the psychological and political implications of mass culture; the concept and reality of totalitarianism; Auschwitz and Hiroshima and their legacy for history and memory; ecological devastation; and new forms of internationalism and collective political action. It is my hope to introduce Anders into American discussions on these topics and evaluate how his ideas might contribute to a critical history of the twentieth century that foregrounds issues such as the technologies and practices of mass annihilation, utopianism, the capacity of the human faculties of imagination and representation to match the speed and ferocity of the century's key developments and events, questions of existing and possible forms of global solidarity and relations to our world of products and apparatuses and to non-human nature. Within the scope of this approach to the examination of the last century, Anders and his philosophy, I would argue, should be central points of reference on this side of the Atlantic as well.

A Twentieth-Century Life (back to top)

            Barry Katz, in his study of Herbert Marcuse, noted how the "practical imperatives" of his social theory were "imposed by the events of the twentieth century."[2] The same could be said of Günther Anders. With a life that encompassed almost the entire century, Anders lived through or witnessed from afar most of its crucial moments. In later years, he would emphasize that his philosophical writings were essentially efforts to catch up to the century's events. I will provide here a biographical sketch of Anders.[3]

            Born Günther Stern, he was the son of the eminent child psychologists William and Clara Stern—William Stern was a central figure in the development of the concept of the Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Living first in Breslau and then Hamburg, Anders' childhood, according to his own description, was stereotypical for that of a comfortable, assimilated German-Jewish family (quite similar to that of his distant cousin Walter Benjamin). His attachment to his parents' world was ruptured, however, with the onset of the Great War. In 1917, Anders was mobilized, along with thousands of other students to aid in the German war effort on the Western Front. Only fifteen, he served in a paramilitary organization that harvested crops for the army in France. According to Anders' own account, two traumatic events during wartime fundamentally changed him: the sight of German soldiers who had lost limbs or had been terribly maimed at the front and the harassment and torment he suffered from comrades because of a secret friendship he struck up with the son of a partisan killed by the Germans. These experiences not only shaped his sense of self but influenced deeply the direction of his interests. Anders' persistent attention to the phenomenon of mass death and his specifically areligious sense of Jewishness stemmed, at least partially, from his memories of horror and persecution during the First World War.[4]

            The standard descriptions of Anders' life give little insight into his attitudes toward Imperial Germany's defeat in 1918, the German Revolution and the founding of the Weimar Republic, and the imposition of the Treaty of Versailles. What is well known is that the 1920s began as a decade of immense promise for him. After completing his high-school education, he studied philosophy at Hamburg with the famed neo-Kantian Ernst Cassirer, and art history with Erwin Panofsky. His interests carried him to universities in Munich, where he continued his art studies with Heinrich Wölfflin, and Berlin, where he took courses with some of the most important figures in the field of psychology such as Eduard Spranger, Wolfgang Köhler, and Max Wertheimer.

            Most notably, Anders was among the remarkable group of students who gathered around Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger at the universities of Marburg and Freiburg during the Weimar years. His circle of friends and acquaintances included his future wife, Hannah Arendt (they were married from 1929 to 1937) and Hans Jonas, who dated his sister. Anders completed his doctorate in 1924 under the direction of Husserl, did post-graduate work with Heidegger at Marburg and was an assistant to Max Scheler in 1926.[5] These philosophers had an immeasurable impact on his thinking—Husserlian phenomenology, Heidegger's system of fundamental ontology, and the late Scheler's philosophical anthropology were central features of Anders' philosophy.[6] Despite his cosmopolitanism and his long experience of exile from Germany both during and after the Nazi years, Anders' philosophical positions remained firmly rooted in the German intellectual traditions he worked through in the 1920s.

            During the late 1920s and early '30s, Anders began what was to be a lifelong commitment to the ideal of the "engaged" intellectual. He published art history and cultural criticism with the Vossische Zeitung and the Berliner Börsen-Courier (with the latter he first began to use the pseudonym Anders-"different") and moved, along with Arendt, among a circle of Weimar Germany's left-wing intellectuals and artists that included Bertolt Brecht, George Grosz and John Heartfield.[7] His interest in this kind of work increased as the prospects for an academic career diminished. His attempt to submit a Habilitationschrift on the philosophy of music with Paul Tillich at the University of Frankfurt ran aground when the project was strongly criticized by an ambitious young philosopher named Theodor Wiesengrund-Adorno. Although Anders had already published a work in phenomenological philosophy, Über das Haben (On Having), he decided to delay work on his second thesis and concentrate on his political and aesthetic writing outside the academy.[8]

            Political circumstances then traumatically changed Anders' life. With the ascendancy of Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists in the years after 1930, Anders desperately tried to persuade many of his leftist colleagues to take seriously the Nazi threat. He organized discussion groups to study Hitler's Mein Kampf and he worked out his own theory of anti-fascism in his dystopian novel, Die molussische Katakombe (The Molussian Catacombs).[9] Anders remained in Germany until March 1933, two months after Hitler became chancellor, when Bertolt Brecht's address book was confiscated by the Gestapo. Fearing arrest in the aftermath of the Reichstag fire and the persecution of Communists and fellow travelers, he fled to Paris where he stayed until 1936.

            Anders' flight to Paris produced an irreversible strain on his marriage to Arendt. While she worked with the Zionist movement in Germany, he attempted to make a living as an independent writer. He elaborated on the philosophical anthropology he had begun in the late 1920s and published a prize-winning short story about a radical Mexican priest's efforts on behalf of the poor, "Der Hungermarsch"(The Hunger March).[10] Like many other German émigrés, Anders decided to leave France in 1936 for what seemed to be a much more hospitable environment in the United States. A few years later, he succeeded in bringing his parents over to the U.S. as well.

            Anders was to spend fourteen years in the U.S. The image of American social and cultural life permeated his later writings on technology and civilization. This image coalesced from a wide variety of experiences he had and jobs he held during those years. He wrote screenplays for movies with little success, lectured at the New School for Social Research, and tutored. Spending time on both coasts, Anders credited much of his critique of mass culture to his brief tenure at a costume factory, the Hollywood Custom Palace, in the early '40s. In his journals, he described it as a "museum of the collective costume past of humanity" where the garments, helmets, and weapons from radically different eras were grouped together for use by film companies.[11] Building from the day-to-day reflections on his work at this costume factory, he developed his own theory of the impact of the technologies of mass production and reproduction, a theory that intersected with many of the harsh criticisms of mass culture made by Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer.

            Anders, in fact, had a great deal of contact with the members of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory during those years. He reviewed books for the Institute of Social Research's journal and participated in a seminar on the theory of needs with Horkheimer, Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, and Friedrich Pollock. He even briefly lived with Marcuse in southern California during the early '40s. Besides their common status as German-Jewish refugees from the Third Reich, they shared a number of philosophical concerns—capitalism as a form of domination, the confrontation with new cultural forms like film, radio and television, and the problem of how to adequately theorize the emergence of fascism. The parallels between Marcuse and Anders are especially striking, since they both had been students of Heidegger, yet both deployed many of his concepts for a political agenda their former teacher found repellent.[12]

            The final years of the Second World War changed irreversibly Anders' thinking and self-conception. Despite the growing certainty of Allied victory over the Axis powers, reports of mass killings of Jews reached him in 1943 and were confirmed the following year. When he heard of the obliteration of Hiroshima in August, 1945, Anders claimed that the news left him speechless. These events forced a "turn" to a more explicitly historical line of theorizing. In his post-1945 works, Auschwitz and Hiroshima emerged as nodal points for a new historical consciousness. For those who survived the war and those who would come after, a fundamental dilemma, Anders claimed, was how best to respond to these horrendous examples of technologically-mediated mass annihilation.[13] Subsequently, he struggled in his theoretical and political efforts to meet this challenge.

            Anders returned to Europe in 1950 with his second wife, the Austrian writer Elisabeth Freundlich. Unimpressed with the prospects of living in either Konrad Adenauer's Federal Republic of Germany or Walter Ulbricht's German Democratic Republic, he and Freundlich settled in her hometown, Vienna (years later, he would marry the American-Jewish musician, Charlotte Lois Zelka) . Anders would spend the rest of his life and would do his most important work there. He quickly rejected any thoughts of a university teaching career and fully embraced the ideal of the independent writer who made his living by writing and public speaking. The interest garnered by his book on Kafka strengthened this conviction.[14] He concentrated his energies for much of the decade on his magnum opus, Die Antiquiertheit des Menschen (The Antiquatedness of Humanity). Anders published the first volume in 1956 and immediately began organizing notes and essays for a second which was not released until 1980.[15] In these two works, Anders elaborated his mature philosophy of technology. Most of his later writings were variations on the arguments put forward in Die Antiquiertheit des Menschen.

 Both volumes of Die Antiquiertheit des Menschen were organized around a central contention: the modern age was a technological one where human beings had been reduced to outdated, "antiquated" beings. Anders claimed that technology's predominance reduced class differences within advanced industrial societies and political-ideological differences between the Cold War blocs to secondary importance. Human beings everywhere, humanity as such, faced a technological world, whose products transformed, even threatened their creators. Anders asserted in the face of accusations of hyperbole that "in no different sense than Napoleon had maintained it 150 years ago of politics, and Marx a 100 years ago of the economy, technology is now our fate."[16] In the second volume, he expanded this line of argument, insisting "technology has now become the Subject of history, with which we are only still 'co-historical'("mitgeschichtlich")."[17] Anders referred to several contemporary developments as evidence for his arguments: the increasing role of automation in the workplace, modern entertainment industries and the prominence of radio and television, and advances in genetics and biotechnology. Most important, however, was the invention of nuclear weapons. August 6, 1945 had truly changed everything.

            Anders was one of a disparate group of largely independent intellectuals, political journalists, scientists, artists, and theologians in West Germany and Austria who understood the Bomb to be a fundamentally new menace. An abbreviated list of them would include Anders, Karl Jaspers, Robert Jungk, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Walter Jens, Ingeborg Bachmann, Hans Henny Jahnn, Hans Werner Richter, Reinhold Schneider, Helmut Gollwitzer, Ulrike Meinhof, Gudrun Ensslin (the last two were later members of the Red Army Faction), and Carl Friedrich Weizsäcker.[18] While Anders often found common ground with many of these thinkers and activists, he differed from most of them in his sustained commitment, even obsession, with the nuclear threat and his determination to create a philosophy of the Atomic Age that would not only guide praxis and protest but would expose "the roots of our blindness to apocalypse" (Apokalypse-Blindheit).[19] The invention of atomic and hydrogen bombs and Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) were, he thought, the purest expressions of technological terror. Technological development had already enveloped the planet; the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki signaled a new historical era—Anders called it the "Endtime" (Endzeit)—where our products might very well destroy us completely.[20] Human beings, he insisted, could either commit to the massive labors required to resist such a prospect or disappear altogether.

            From the mid-1950s onward, Anders became well known in Europe as a militant opponent of the atomic bomb. His theoretical writing and his activism fused as he sought a popular language to convey his critiques of technological civilization, Hiroshima, Auschwitz, and contemporary imperialism. Among these (interrelated for him) issues, the nuclear menace remained predominant until the late 1960s. He worked closely with the anti-nuclear and peace movements in West Germany and Austria, and traveled to Japan in 1958, where he attended an international congress of anti-nuclear activists and observed for himself the legacy of atomic warfare in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Anders also conducted a lengthy correspondence with Claude Eatherly, the American pilot involved in scouting missions over Hiroshima before the Enola-Gay raid who later suffered tremendous psychological problems for his role in the attacks.[21] Even his failed attempt to communicate with Adolf Eichmann's son, Klaus, in Wir Eichmannsöhne (We Sons of Eichmann) about his father's role in Nazi Germany's industrial killing apparatus included an appeal to Klaus to join the anti-nuclear cause as a spokesperson.[22]

            The Vietnam War proved to be something of an exception to his concentration on the nuclear question. Anders supported the New Left's condemnation of American involvement in Vietnam and he served in 1967 as a juror on the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation's War Crimes Tribunal which indicted the United States for mass atrocities in Southeast Asia.[23] Anders always regarded U.S. military policy in Vietnam as indisputably genocidal. The American prosecution of war against the National Liberation Front and Ho Chi Minh's regime in North Vietnam, coupled with past U.S. willingness to use atomic bombs, convinced him that the United States was the most dangerous country in the post-1945 world.

            The 1970s and 1980s were, for Anders, decades of declining health on the one hand and increasing acclaim on the other. His productivity never wavered in either. Anders began the '70s with a book on space travel and closed the decade with his deeply compelling reflections on the Shoah, Besuch im Hades (Visit into Hades).[24] Long overdue recognition of his writings and activism followed with an Austrian state award in 1979 and, ironically, the Theodor W. Adorno Award of Frankfurt in 1983. The renewal of the arms race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union consumed him though and left him little time to appreciate this attention. Although he conceded in the preface to the second volume of Die Antiquiertheit des Menschen that he was too old for praxis, Anders insisted that his theory of technology was inherently political and was as relevant to the 1980s as to the '50s.[25] He would not go quietly.

            The '80s were years when Anders, an octogenarian, attained his greatest fame or, perhaps better, infamy. In 1987, he published Gewalt-ja oder nein (Violence-yes or no), a volume which contained an interview with and essays by Anders as well as responses to his arguments from a host of figures in West German and Austrian public life.[26] Assembled in response to NATO's deployment of U.S. missiles in the Federal Republic in the early 1980s and the Chernobyl disaster in the Soviet Union in 1986, the book generated a bitter controversy on all sides of the political spectrum. Anders shocked readers there with his repudiation of nonviolence as an inadequate, indeed irresponsible, response to the perils posed by the Bomb and the use of nuclear energy. Violence, he insisted, should be considered an appropriate, legitimate form of defense by human beings against Cold War governments of both East and West that endangered not only their own populations but humanity as a whole. His dismissal of "merely theoretical" forms of protest and his talk of rendering certain politicians "ineffective" evoked the militant rhetoric of the Red Army Faction and Revolutionary Cells.[27]

            As his health continued to erode, Anders found a growing audience. The controversy over his support for left-wing violence pushed many to study his writings, while others came to his work through interest in academic study of philosophy and literature. When Anders died in 1992 in Vienna, he had lived long enough to see the reunification of Germany, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the cessation of the Cold War. The century that he devoted his life to analyzing had ended quite surprisingly. Also surprising was a burgeoning interest in his philosophy by university-trained scholars, professionals of whom he had long held, to be kind, very mixed opinions. Academics finally caught up to Anders' remarkable body of work and found challenging and always surprising those "observations and theses" he offered "independent of all orthodoxies."[28]

Goals for the Dissertation (back to top)

            My dissertation has three major goals. First, I want to provide a thorough account of the life and ideas of Günther Anders for a North American audience, a task already begun by Paul van Dijk in his Anthropology in the Age of Technology: The Philosophical Contribution of Günther Anders.[29] Anders never found an audience in the U.S. during his lifetime, although he lived here for fourteen years. Many of his teachers and mentors (Ernst Cassirer, Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, and Max Scheler) either published works in English or were readily translated and studied exhaustively by American scholars—in Heidegger's case, the scholarship has burgeoned into a veritable subfield in Continental philosophy. Anders' cousin, Walter Benjamin, and several of his Marxist associates (Bertolt Brecht, Theodor W. Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, and Ernst Bloch) have earned a secure place in the American academy. The immense prestige garnered by his first wife, Hannah Arendt requires no comment. Anders certainly contributed to this disregard for his work in the United States by his sometimes ambivalent, sometimes stridently hostile comments about the nature of American social, cultural and political life and by his reticence to approve translation of his works into English. I have undertaken this study to overcome this omission and to spur an interest in Anders' radical critique of technology and modern history mindful of his consistent suspicion of the academy. Anders' theoretical, political, and literary works (the boundaries between these categories often blur with him) repay careful study.

            An intellectual biography of Anders faces problems from the outset. Aside from his unpublished writings, he published journals, poetry, essays, and monographs in German, but also in French and English, over a span of some seventy years.[30] The sheer longevity of his career casts doubt on the possibility of a comprehensive, one-volume intellectual biography. To surmount these difficulties, I will focus on a central theme in his writings: the unfolding domination of technology over human beings, a development that did not begin in, but assumed totalitarian dimensions in the twentieth century. I will argue that Anders' thesis of the emergence and then acceleration of humanity's "antiquatedness" in the face of our technological creations marks him as one of the most suggestive, if not controversial, theorists of twentieth- century history. His philosophy of technology, or as he described it, a "philosophical anthropology in the age of technocracy," deserves sustained attention by historians, I contend, because his theory proposed bold arguments about how to grasp the character of the twentieth century.[31]

            Anders' writings about technology should be understood within a larger debate among German intellectuals about the nature and trajectory of modern technology. Emerging during the tumultuous years of the Weimar Republic (1919-1933), this line of theorizing concerning Technik was frequently associated with right-wing, if not fascist, politics. Ernst Jünger, Oswald Spengler, Carl Schmitt, Hans Freyer, and, of course, Martin Heidegger were the key figures here and have been treated very effectively by Jeffrey Herf in his Reactionary Modernism.[32] Anders, along with Herbert Marcuse and perhaps Hans Jonas, represented a left-wing counterpoint to the proto-fascist perspective. Few of these thinkers feared broad generalizations or theoretical excess, and they elaborated very sophisticated theories of technological development and rationality. I will read Anders against this larger German debate but I also hope to show how his claims about the specificity of the twentieth century, though drawn from theoretical frameworks alien to many in the Anglo-American historical profession, intersect quite remarkably with the concerns of much contemporary historiography.

            My approach to this project has been influenced by the huge historiographical literature engaged in various forms of "taking stock" of the twentieth century. The strongly normative character of this work and the forbidding subject matter that it confronts have significantly advanced debate on how the past century compares to previous eras and what sort of legacy it leaves to future generations. Inspired largely, though not exclusively, by the history of Europe, these works foreshadow a more fully global history, a world history where the issues of human rights, the establishment of international institutions, and the shared consciousness of participation in "humanity" assume paramount importance.[33] While it is far too soon to speak of this literature as if its energies were already spent, I think it is fair to describe much of this new work as an attempt to document, describe, and explain the history of the twentieth century in terms of total war and man-made mass death, where the enhanced ability to wage war and kill with perpetually increasing magnitude and efficiency took on gargantuan proportions. Within this framework, the two world wars and the Holocaust become the "ur-events" in a century marked by industrial killing, ethnic cleansing and exterminanionist racism and the often brutal utopias of revolutionary social transformation of both the political Left and Right.[34]

            Anders' ideas, I believe, contribute powerfully to these debates. His critique of technology purported to explain, in Kantian fashion, the technologically-facilitated possibilities for many of these horrific events and his philosophical anthropology offered a rich account of the frailness of human abilities to come to terms with them. For example, his contention that a massive gap had grown between our ability to produce and our faculties of representation, imagination, and feeling demanded a different understanding of the aftermath of the Shoah. What Alexander and Margarete Mitscherlich had diagnosed as the Germans' "inability to mourn" was not limited to the Germans. While demanding a specific German commitment to memory and mourning for the murdered, Anders constantly reiterated his call for a universal politics of conscience where the labors of overcoming this discrepancy, this "Promethean gap" between our faculties were given disproportionate attention.[35] I will argue that Anders' search for the frameworks of possibility for the Holocaust (and other genocides) and his interrogation of concepts like responsibility, collective guilt, and victimhood generate a creative tension with more conventional historical accounts, opening new lines of thinking about the history of the twentieth century and about the relationship between history and social theory.

            Anders' reflections on the significance of the advent of nuclear weapons and his theory of the Atomic Age are also immensely valuable for historians. To the outrage of some, he explained both Hiroshima and Auschwitz as technologically-mediated mass annihilation. They had to be comprehended together, though never equated.[36] Hiroshima, especially, became for him the necessary point of departure for any philosophical analysis of the contemporary world. Conceptualizing its destruction as a fundamental rupture in global history, Anders maintained that the dropping of the atomic bombs initiated a new era where "Humanity as a whole is exterminable."[37] In the dissertation, I will focus on how Anders interpreted the Atomic Age as the Third Industrial Revolution. The previous industrial revolutions, he claimed had encompassed the technological breakthroughs and new forms of production of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the introduction of television and radio in the twentieth centuries. The third was, like its predecessors, irreversible, but much more significantly, it portended the eradication of human and perhaps all life.[38]

            These propositions about the nature of nuclear terror and the post-Hiroshima era as a distinctive, revolutionary historical epoch provoke a number of questions for students of modern history. Some of these include: how are we to think of the scientific discovery of the splitting of the atom and the construction of the first nuclear and thermonuclear weapons within our histories of the twentieth century? To rephrase, where do Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the hydrogen bomb, the development of intermediate and intercontinental ballistic missiles and the Cold War's nuclear confrontations involving the United States, the Soviet Union and their respective allies like the Suez Crisis of 1956 and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 fit into current discussions of total war, revolution and genocide? It hardly requires emphasizing that these questions are not only salient for historical inquiry but resonate, sadly, all too much with our post-Cold War era where nuclear arms and technology and the requisite scientific knowledge proliferate in an international order that no longer operates along bipolar lines.[39] Anders' theses on the Bomb, I hope to show, still have great relevance even with the passing away of the logic of Mutually Assured Destruction. Anders should be recognized as the most rigorous theorist of omnicide and his claims about the nuclear peril point to its persistence as a species problem. In contrast to Theodor W. Adorno, who spoke of the seemingly intractable difficulties haunting poetry and philosophy "after Auschwitz," Anders' body suggests that post-1945 history should be defined definitively as "after Hiroshima".[40] I will thematize his claims about "history after Hiroshima" (the title of my dissertation) and draw out their implications for a historical-theoretical understanding of the twentieth century.

            Second, I want the dissertation to contribute to the study of modern German intellectual history. Anders' theory rests on the fault lines of several different German philosophical traditions. By his own admission Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, and Max Scheler exerted the greatest influence on him. My project will include a detailed examination of the impact of these thinkers on Anders and how he appropriated their ideas for his own purposes.

            Of these three, Heidegger and Scheler had the most profound impact on his subsequent thinking. Heidegger's attempt, begun in the Weimar years, to make philosophy "concrete" again stunned the young Anders as it did many of his colleagues. In later interviews, he spoke of the "demonic 'spell'" of Heidegger's thought, which he, like many other aspiring German intellectuals, fell under.[41] Unlike Hannah Arendt, Anders broke completely with Heidegger over the latter's Nazism and he published some of the first systematic critiques of Heidegger's philosophical project.[42] Despite the rift, Heidegger's influence persisted throughout all of his later work—to use the language of his former teacher, Heidegger's radical approach to the history of philosophy and to modernity opened a way of questioning for Anders. In the dissertation, I will emphasize how Anders' trenchant reconfiguration of Heideggerian themes like the relationship between Dasein and temporality, the problem of nihilism and, of course, the confrontation with technology make him a salient, yet often neglected, figure in the history of Heideggerianism.[43]

            I shall also demonstrate the equally important imprint Max Scheler's writings left on Anders. Scheler (1874-1928) began in his final years work on a philosophical anthropology, a subfield of philosophy still obscure to many Anglo-American students and scholars.[44] The subfield has had a long and distinguished lineage in Germany. Some of the earliest proponents of philosophical anthropology were Immanuel Kant and Johann Gottfried Herder in the late eighteenth century. Hegel, Feuerbach, and Marx extended this tradition in the nineteenth century. Scheler and, later, Helmuth Plessner (1892-1985) reinvigorated it in the Weimar years.[45] Anders was an assistant to Scheler in 1926 and quickly took up many of the latter's theoretical concerns. He emerged along with Arnold Gehlen (1904-1976) as one of the gifted heirs to philosophical-anthropological thinking.

            Philosophical anthropology, or at least its German variant, had always taken up themes of humanity's location within the web of organic life. The distinction between human beings and animals, the very faculties and abilities that rendered us human, our modes of interaction with our environments, and potential direction of human evolution were its leitmotifs. Anders shared many of these concerns. In the late 1920s, he planned for an academic career and sketched his interpretation of philosophical anthropology in a lecture entitled "Die Weltfremdheit des Menschen" (The Unworldliness of Humanity).[46] Given to Kant societies in Hamburg and Frankfurt, this lecture offered strong arguments against concepts of a fixed human nature. Anders there and in two subsequent essays touted a stark view of human culture—human beings had no innate nature and lived in a godless world ruled by contingency.[47] The "freedom" of human beings to create their own world and grapple with this contingency preoccupied Anders for the remainder of his life. His thinking anticipated Jean-Paul Sartre's idea of humankind as a life-form "condemned to freedom" and encouraged comparison with the rightist approach to these questions propounded by Gehlen.[48]

I hope to make this tradition of philosophical anthropology more familiar to American readers and to show how its apparently ahistorical bent is revamped in Anders' hands into a fully historical theory of the transformation of human life. Its centrality to his theoretical project is difficult to overestimate. Anders' vociferous repudiation of our technological civilization and his theory of the Atomic Age are incomprehensible without an extended treatment of these philosophies of human nature.

            My third and final goal for the dissertation is to make a case for the importance of Anders as a serious political thinker. He never exerted the influence on radical social movements like his friend and sometime rival, Herbert Marcuse, yet he secured for himself a place as a formidable public intellectual. As I noted in the previous section, Anders was fervently dedicated to the ideal of the engaged writer from the 1920s until his death in 1992. In the dissertation, I will show how Anders aligned himself with a series of struggles and causes, but I want to stress how he is much more compelling as a political theorist.

            After his return to Europe in 1950, Anders began to theorize new forms of opposition and internationalism. Faced with the nightmare of nuclear annihilation, he contended that human beings must forge a new solidarity that would meet the global threat on global terms. I will argue that Anders developed a kind of post-Marxist radicalism adequate to the new social movements of the second half of the Cold War. For Anders, an unforeseen consequence of the Atomic Age was the obsolescence of the most progressive form of solidarity of the pre-Hiroshima age, that of Marxist internationalism. Marxist categories of class struggle, he claimed, failed before a menace from which "no land, no population, no class, no generation" could escape.[49] Anders replaced Marx and Engels' exhortation for workers of the world to unite with this slogan: "Imperiled of all lands unite!" (Gefährdete aller Länder, vereinigt euch!) and called for an "International of Generations" to supplant the older socialist and communist Internationals.[50]

            He also insisted that many staples of modern ethics—responsibility, empathy, action, obligation—had to be thoroughly reevaluated in the wake of Hiroshima and Auschwitz. Determined to influence the anti-nuclear, peace, and ecology movements, Anders wrote extensively about political praxis and the frameworks of effective resistance to the nuclear threat. His understanding of the struggle against possible omnicide and repetition of past genocide as simultaneously a struggle for a moral subjectivity equal to these challenges makes fascinating reading and the later chapters of my dissertation will include protracted discussions of these ideas and consideration of their relevance for our times.[51]

Methodology and Outline of the Dissertation (back to top)

            My project has been greatly influenced by the remarkable new literature on Günther Anders' life and ideas that has emerged in the last twenty years. As late as 1980, Anders told readers that he did not place the "slightest value" in how "professional philosophers" regarded him or how "they would classify his doings."[52] His alienation from contemporary academic philosophy had been persistent, but he was stunned by the explosion of interest in his works that began in the 1980s. In light of his outspoken support for the anti-nuclear movement and the public scandal concerning his comments on violence, many German and Austrian students in philosophy, psychology and Germanistik sought him and his books out. This academic interest in Anders concurred with a number of awards he received for his writings and activism. Scholars such as Micha Brumlik, Jürgen Langenbach, Gabriele Althaus and Eckhard Wittulski issued a number of pathbreaking works on Anders' theories of technology, mass culture and radical politics in the late 1980s.[53] In the early 1990s, the purview of this literature expanded tremendously with special colloquia about and exclusive issues on Anders by academic journals. 1992, the year of Anders' ninetieth birthday and that of his death was a landmark year in the "discovery" of his philosophy.[54]

            During the last decade, this fascination with Anders' ideas has not abated. Several new works, many of them comparative in nature, have appeared.[55] For students of Anders, what is especially ironic is how he, the perpetual outsider, has become institutionalized posthumously. Thanks largely to the efforts of Dirk Röpcke and Raimund Bahr, a Günther Anders Forum, with a corresponding website, has been created along with an International Günther Anders Academy.[56] Annual seminars, workshops, and colloquia on Anders in Vienna have elicited much attention and a community of scholars concerned with the legacy of Anders and the questions he raised is taking shape. With the publication of Paul van Dijk's book on Anders in 2000, the first of its kind in English, the discussion is moving, albeit gradually, across the Atlantic. I look forward to being a part of it.

            My own project, while influenced by much of this German and Austrian literature, differs from these works in a few crucial ways. First, my dissertation is a work in intellectual history not a work of philosophy and that gives my research a distinct slant. Most of the previous literature has been engaged in a serious exposition of Anders' key ideas—technological supremacy, the antiquatedness of human beings, the discrepancy between our faculties of imagination and those of production. These works are invaluable for their close analyses of his texts, but the absence of context in so many of them is a glaring weakness. The explicitly historical-biographical aspects of his theory are often relegated to a separate biographical excursus or chapter. I want to provide a thicker historical dimension to his intellectual biography and offer a narrative where the evolution of his critical theory of technology is shown chronologically. Such an approach, I contend, betters an exclusively internal exposition of Anders' philosophy at least in this case, because the leitmotifs of his work are so overtly historical. Indeed, I understand Anders' theory of technology as a bold attempt to grasp a historical context, which he described as the succession of the Three Industrial Revolutions. Ludger Lütkehaus and Konrad Paul Liessmann have advocated the most consciously historical approach, as far as I can tell, within the larger body of Anders scholarship.[57] Although my dissertation bears affinities to the writings of these authors, I will push for a greater integration of biography and theory.

            A second difference with my project is that I will build on the greatest strength of the previous scholarship on Anders—the careful exegesis of his writings—while shifting this method onto different subjects. My focus, to reiterate, will be on his critique of technology. I will engage his texts seriously and will reconstruct their arguments, drawing out their implications and pointing to problems arising from his claims. I will not remain at this level of analysis, but instead I hope to draw out tensions between Anders' theory and the context he theorizes, the dynamic of technology's growing autonomy in the twentieth century. The relation between critical theories of modern life and more conventional historical accounts is a central interest of mine. My purpose is not to "disprove" or merely correct certain of Anders' theses, but to concentrate on how ambitious theories of modernity (or postmodernity for that matter) confront contemporary historiography. Intellectual history can mediate these two approaches and fully bring out points of conflict between them. In short, I want to look at not only the internal consistency and coherence of his arguments but their adequacy and actuality.[58]

            Additionally, I see this dissertation on Anders as part of a series of reassessments of important figures in Central European thought whose ideas had dropped out of scholarly debate. The new studies of Karl Popper, Karl Jaspers, and Hans Jonas testify, I hope, to the continued vitality of their philosophies as well as to intellectual history itself.[59] The study of compelling thinkers like these should not necessarily lead to an uncritical adoration of a canon of Meisterdenker. Beyond the intrinsic interest contained in the life of an individual, intellectual or not, serious analyses of major theorists and critics recover lost insights about particular eras, subvert existing parameters for what is considered historical knowledge, and bring forth new questions as much as they answer old ones. That is intellectual history at its best. It is in that spirit of inquiry that I submit this project on Anders.

            Finally, I want to briefly mention the outline of the dissertation. There are two parts to it and five chapters. The schema for the two sections "Mensch ohne Welt" (Man without a World) and "Welt ohne Mensch" (World without Man), I take from Anders himself.[60] The first part will encompass Anders' life from 1902-1950, the second the years 1950-1992. Part One will include a chapter covering his childhood and early years through his studies with Heidegger and Scheler. Chapter Two will take up his time in exile. Part Two, the lengthier of the two sections, will have three chapters. Chapter One will be concerned primarily with Die Antiquiertheit des Menschen. The emphasis on Chapter Two will be his political involvement in the 1960s and '70s and concomitant political writings. In Chapter Three, I will look at the debate over his views on violent resistance and pacifism and his legacy.

            The research for the dissertation will be based, of course, mainly on printed sources, the number of which are enormous in Anders' case. Aside from the published writings, I will make use of materials—correspondence, unfinished manuscripts, and diaries—held in the Anders Nachlass in Vienna under the supervision of Gerhard Oberschlick. There is also correspondence between Anders and Herbert Marcuse and Alexander Mitscherlich in their respective archives in Frankfurt and between Anders and Arendt at the Library of Congress that I will have to examine. Third, there are materials related to Anders at the Deutsches Literaturarchiv at Marbach am Neckar. I plan also to make use of materials on anti-nuclear, peace, and New Left organizations located at the International Institute for Social History in Amsterdam and the Institut für Sozialforschung in Hamburg.

(back to top)

[1] Günther Anders, Ketzereien (Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck, 1982), 5.

[2] Barry Kātz, Herbert Marcuse and the Art of Liberation: An Intellectual Biography (London: Verso, 1982), 12.

[3] Since there is no real biography of Anders in any language, a good place to begin is the collection of interviews contained in Günther Anders antwortet: Interviews & Erklärungen, ed. Elke Schubert (Berlin: Edition Tiamat, 1987). For this brief overview of Anders' life, I will draw on his 1979 interview with Matthias Greffrath, "Wenn ich verzweifelt bin, was geht's mich an?" and his 1985 conversation with Fritz J. Raddatz, "Brecht konnte mich nicht riechen," both from Günther Anders antwortet. Concise descriptions of his life can also be found in Konrad Paul Liessmann, Günther Anders zur Einführung, 2nd Edition (Hamburg: Junius Verlag, 1993), Ch.1 and Paul van Dijk, Anthropology in the Age of Technology: The Philosophical Contribution of GüntherAnders (Atlanta: Rodopi, 2000), Ch.2.

[4] On Anders' understanding of his own Jewishness, see his essay "Mein Judentum," in Mein Judentum, edited by Hans Jürgen Schultz (Stuttgart: Kreuz, 1978).

[5] Anders' dissertation was, by his own account, critical of his teacher Husserl. See "Die Rolle der Situationskategorie bei den Logischen Sätzen," Ph.D. diss., University of Freiburg-im-Breisgau, 1924.

[6] An excellent place to start with Anders' connection to German philosophy is Helmut Hildebrandt's "Günther Anders und die philosophische Tradition," Text + Kritik 115 (July 1992): 58-63.

[7] For a thorough discussion of Anders' relationship with Arendt, see Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982). Anders published a series of essays on the leftist intelligentsia of the Weimar Republic. Many of them can be found his Mensch ohne Welt: Schriften zur Kunst und Literatur (Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck, 1984).

[8] Published under Günther Stern, Über das Haben: Sieben Kapitel zur Ontologie der Erkenntnis (Bonn: Cohen, 1928), is perhaps his most neglected book.

[9] The novel, completed in the late 1930s, was not published until the year of Anders' death-Die molussische Katakombe: Roman (Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck, 1992).

[10] This story was originally published in the German exile journal, Die Sammlung, in 1936 and was republished with much of Anders' other fiction in Erzählungen: Fröhliche Philosophie (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1978).

[11] See his Tagebücher und Gedichte (Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck, 1985), 1.

[12] For a comparison , see Christian Fuchs, "Zu einigen Parallelen und Differenzen im Denken von Günther Anders und Herbert Marcuse" in Geheimagent der Masseneremiten: Günther Anders, ed. Dirk Röpcke and Raimund Bahr, 2nd Edition (Vienna: Edition Art and Science/Günther Anders Forum, 2003).

[13] For an excellent analysis of Anders' understanding of Auschwitz and Hiroshima, see Konrad Paul Liessmann's "'Das Prinzip Auschwitz': Reflexionen zur Leichenproduktion im 20. Jahrhundert." Forum XLII Nr. 796-798 (June 9, 1995): 92-95.

[14] Kafka-Pro und Contra: Die Prozessunterlagen (Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck, 1951).

[15] Die Antiquiertheit des Menschen, Vol. 1, Über die Seele im Zeitalter der zweiten industriellen Revolution (Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck, 1956) and Vol. 2, Über die Zerstörung des Lebens im Zeitalter der dritten industriellen Revolution (Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck, 1980).

[16] Die Antiquiertheit, Vol. 1, 7.

[17] Die Antiquiertheit, Vol. 2, 9.

[18] For two good anthologies of Central European anti-nuclear thought from this period, see Bernward Vesper-Triangel, ed., Gegen den Tod: Stimmen deutscher Schriftsteller gegn die Atombombe (Stuttgart: Studio Neue Literatur, 1964) and Günther Heipp, ed., Es geht ums Leben! Der Kampf gegen die Bombe 1945-1965: Eine Dokumentation (Hamburg: Reich, 1965). See also the very important book by Karl Jaspers, Die Atombombe und die Zukunft des Menschen (Munich: R. Piper and Co., 1958).

[19] This phrase is taken from the powerful essay on the atomic threat, "Über die Bombe und die Wurzeln unserer Apokalypse-Blindheit," in Die Antiquiertheit, Vol. 1.

[20] Anders uses this phrase from apocalyptic religious language in his 1959 piece, "Thesen zum Atomzeitalter," which he issued along with other essays on the Bomb in Endzeit und Zeitenende: Gedanken über die atomare Situation (Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck, 1972). This very important collection of Anders' essays was republished with a new foreword as Die atomare Drohung: Radikale Überlegungen (Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck, 1981).

[21] Anders' account of his trip to Japan appeared as Der Mann auf der Brücke: Tagebuch aus Hiroshima und Nagasaki (Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck, 1959). For his correspondence with Eatherly, see Burning Conscience: The Case of the Hiroshima Pilot (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1962). A German translation of the correspondence had appeared a year earlier—Off Limits für das Gewissen (Hamburg: Rowohlt Verlag, 1961).

[22] This ultra-provocative "open letter" deserves immediate translation—Wir Eichmannsöhne: Offener Brief an Klaus Eichmann (Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck, 1964).

[23] Among Anders' extensive writings about the Vietnam conflict, see his Nürnberg und Vietnam: Synoptisches Mosaik (Berlin: Voltaire, 1967) and Visit Beautiful Vietnam: ABC der Aggressionen heute (Cologne: Pahl-Rugenstein Verlag, 1968). The stunning transcript of the tribunal's hearings is recorded in Against the Crime of Silence: Proceedings of the Russell International War Crimes Tribunal, ed. John Duffet (London: O' Hare Books, 1968).

[24] For his theory of the space age, see Der Blick vom Mond: Reflexionen über Weltraumflüge (Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck, 1970). His work on the Holocaust blended older published writings with new pieces about representation and memory—Besuch im Hades: Auschwitz und Breslau 1966. Nach "Holocaust" 1979 (Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck, 1979).

[25] Die Antiquiertheit, Vol. 2, 10-14.

[26] Gewalt-ja oder nein: Eine notwendige Diskussion, ed. Manfred Bissinger (Munich: Knaur, 1987).

[27] Ibid, 24.

[28] Ketzereien, 5.

[29] For a full citation, see no.3.

[30] There is no Gesamtausgabe of Anders' works. The most complete bibliography of his published writings was put together for a special issue of Text + Kritik 115 (July 1992): 89-101.

[31] This description is found in Die Antiquiertheit, Vol. 2, 9.

[32] Jeffrey Herf, Reactionary Modernism: Technology, Culture, and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984). Heidegger's distinctive place in this debate is covered in the excellent book by Michael Zimmerman, Heidegger's Confrontation with Modernity: Technology, Politics, and Art (Indianopolis: Indiana University Press, 1990). On Jonas, see Eric Jakob, Martin Heidegger und Hans Jonas: Die Metaphysik der Subjektivität und die Krise der technologischen Zivilisation (Tübingen: Francke, 1996) and David J. Levy, Hans Jonas: The Integrity of Thinking (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2002). For Marcuse, see Kātz, Marcuse and the Art of Liberation, Douglas Kellner, Herbert Marcuse and the Crisis of Marxism (London: Macmillan, 1984), and Patrick Murray, "The Frankfurt School Critique of Technology," Research in Philosophy and Technology 5 (1982): 223-248. Some major works on the general socio-psychological anxiety about technology are Langdon Winner's Autonomous Technology: Technics-out-of-control as a Theme in Political Thought (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1977 and Otto Ulrich, Technik und Herrschaft (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1977).

[33] I have listed here the works that I found the most insightful: Omer Bartov, Murder in Our Midst: The Holocaust, Industrial Killing, and Representation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996); idem, Mirrors of Destruction: War, Genocide, and Modern Identity (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000); Dan Diner, Das Jahrhundert verstehen: Eine Universalhistorische Deutung (Munich: Luchterhand, 1999); Michael Geyer, "Germany or: The Twentieth Century as History," South Atlantic Quarterly 96:4 (1997): 663-702; Jonathan Glover, Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000); Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes: A History of the World 1914-1991 (New York: Vintage Books, 1994); Paul Gordon Lauren, The Evolution of International Human Rights: Visions Seen (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998); Mark Mazower, Dark Continent: Europe's Twentieth Century (New York: Vintage Books, 2000); idem, "Violence and the State in the Twentieth Cenury," American Historical Review 107:4 (October 2002): 1158-1178; Norman Naimark, Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001); Eric D. Weitz, A Century of Genocide: Utopias of Race and Nation (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003). Still crucial for understanding this angle on twentieth-century developments is Raymond Aron, The Century of Total War, 1st Edition (Garden City, N.J.: Doubleday Press, 1954). Charles Maier has argued quite forcefully that this approach to the twentieth century, oriented around narratives of "moral atrocity" and "moral struggle", really does not capture different " structural narratives" of socio-political and economic transformation. See his "Consigning the Twentieth Century to History: Alternatives for the Modern Era," American Historical Review 105 (June 2000): 807-831.

[34] I borrow the term "ur-events" from Alon Confino, The Nation as Local Metaphor: Würrtemberg, Imperial Germany, and National Memory, 1871-1918 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997), xiii. For a philosophical analysis of the category of man-made mass death, see Edith Wyschogrod, Spirit in Ashes: Hegel, Heidegger, and Man-Made Mass Death (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985).

[35] For Anders' approach to the Holocaust and to the tasks of Vergangenheitsbewältigung, see his Wir Eichmannsöhne, his journals of his visit to Auschwitz, and his essay on the American television series "Holocaust," "Nach 'Holocaust' 1979". The latter two pieces can be found in Besuch im Hades. For one example of his conceptualization of the problems of conscience and responsibility, see his 1964 speech, "Die Toten: Rede über die drei Weltkriege," in Hiroshima ist überall (Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck, 1982). On Anders' concept of the "Promethean gap" (Das Prometheische Gefälle), see Die Antiquiertheit, Vol.1, 17-18. The Mitscherlichs' arguments are contained in their Die Unfähigkeit zu trauern: Grundlagen kollektiven Verhaltens (Munich: Piper, 1967).

[36] Andrei S. Markovits and Philip S. Gorski claim, falsely I think, that Anders relativizes the Holocaust when he compares it with the atomic threat. See their comments on Anders in their The German Left: Red, Green and Beyond (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 133, 135.

[37] Die Antiquiertheit, Vol. 1, 242-243. In these remarkable passages, Anders contrasted the prospects of species destruction with the meaning of Auschwitz—that "All people are exterminable."

[38] Anders elaborated his theory of the Three Industrial Revolutions at considerable length in both volumes of Die Antiquiertheit des Menschen.

[39] There is much in Anders' writings that anticipates later attempts to theorize these questions in the 1980s and beyond after a new arms race and reciprocal anti-nuclear movement emerged worldwide. Anders'schen themes appear in all of these. E.P. Thompson, "Notes on Exterminism: The Last Stage of Civilization," in Exterminism and Cold War, edited by New Left Review (London: Verso, 1982); Jonathan Schell, The Fate of the Earth (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1982); Robert Jay Lifton and Eric Markusen, The Genocidal Mentality: Nazi Holocaust and Nuclear Threat (New York: Basic Books, 1990); Berel Lang, "Genocide and Omnicide: Technology and the Limits of Ethics," in The Future of the Holocaust: Between History and Memory (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999).

[40] For Adorno's discussion of cultural practices "after Auschwitz," see his "Cultural Criticism and Society" in Prisms, trans. Samuel and Shierry Weber (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1981), 34 and Negative Dialectics, trans. E.B. Ashton (New York: Continuum, 1973), 361-365. My characterization of Anders' reading of contemporary history is inspired by the title of Ludger Lütkehaus' excellent book on Anders, Philosophieren nach Hiroshima: Über Günther Anders (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 1992).

[41] Anders' very interesting comments about his studies with Heidegger can be found in "Wenn ich verzweifelt bin", 22.

[42] See his very important essays, "Nihilismus und Existenz," Die Neue Rundschau 5 (1946): 48-76 and "On the Pseudo-Concreteness of Heidegger's Philosophy," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 8 (September 1947-June 1948): 337-371. Anders' published and unpublished writings on Heidegger have been collected in the volume Über Heidegger, ed. Gerhard Oberschlick in combination with Werner Reimann as translator (Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck, 2001).

[43] Richard Wolin's Heidegger's Children: Hannah Arendt, Karl Löwith, Hans Jonas, and Herbert Marcuse (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001) barely mentions Anders, even though he focuses on many of the same problems in Heidegger's legacy that troubled Anders. The most serious student of the Anders-Heidegger relationship is Helmut Hildebrandt. See his Weltzustand Technik: Ein Vergleich der Technikphilosophien von Günther Anders und Martin Heidegger (Berlin: Metropol, 1990) and "Anders und Heidegger" in Günther Anders kontrovers, ed. Konrad Paul Liessmann (Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck, 1992).

[44] On Scheler, the literature is growing as are the translations of his works. For a good introduction, see the older work by John Raphael Staude, Max Scheler, 1874-1928: An Intellectual Portrait (New York: Free Press, 1967).

[45] A fine survey of the German tradition of philosophical anthropology is Gerhard Arlt, Philosophische Anthropologie (Stuttgart: Metzler, 2001).

[46] The unpublished manuscript for this presentation is contained in the Anders Nachlass. I have altered Paul van Dijk's translation of the title of the lecture here. See his Anthropology, 29.

[47] Anders published two major essays in exile in France during the 1930s where he delineated the arguments made in the lecture. See his "Une interpretation de l'a posteriori," Recherches Philosophiques 4 (1934-1935): 65-80 and "Pathologie de la liberté: Essai sur la nonidentification," Recherches Philosophiques 4 (1936-1937): 22-54.

[48] Anders did not back away from pointing out his originality concerning these questions. See his comments on philosophical anthropology in Die Antiquiertheit Vol.2, 128-130. For an example of Gehlen's work, see his Der Mensch, seine Natur und seine Stellung in der Welt (Bonn: Athenäum, 1940).

[49] "Die Wurzeln der Apokalypse-Blindheit," in Die atomare Drohung, 106.

[50] On this slogan, see his "Die Toten," 381. Anders' discussion of an "International of Generations" is found in his "Thesen zum Atomzeitalter," 95.

[51] To really appreciate the richness of Anders' discussion of how modern technology has restructured human subjectivity, one should begin with Die Antiquiertheit, Vol. 1.

[52] Die Antiquiertheit, Vol. 2, 418.

[53] See Micha Brumlik, "Günther Anders: Zur Existenzialontologie der Emigration" in Zivilisationsbruch: Denken nach Auschwitz, ed. Dan Diner (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 1988); Jürgen Langenbach, Günther Anders: Eine Monographie (Munich: Raben, 1988); Eckhard Wittulski, Kein Ort, Nirgends-Zur Gesellschaftskritik Günther Anders' (Frankfurt am Main: Herchen, 1989).

[54] For the special journals on his works, see Austriaca 35 (1992); Zeitschrift für Didaktik der Philosphie 3 (1992); the special July 1992 issue of Text + Kritik. See also the volume of essays Günther Anders kontrovers. Other works about Anders from the early 1990s include Oliver G'schrey, Günther Anders: "Endzeit" Diskurs und Pessimismus (Cuxhaven: Junghans, 1991); Werner Reimann, Verweigerte Versöhnung: Zur Philosophie von Günther Anders (Vienna: Passagen, 1990); Konrad Paul Liessmann, Gunther Anders zur Einführung; Ludger Lütkehaus, Philosophieren nach Hiroshima; Elke Schubert, Günther Anders (Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1992).

[55] See for example Detlef Clemens, Günther Anders: Eine Studie über die Ursprünge seiner Philosophie (Frankfurt am Main: Haag + Herchen, 1996); Margret Lohmann, Philosophieren in der Endzeit: Zur Gegenwartsanalyse von Günther Anders (Munich: Fink, 1996); Wolfgang Kramer, Technokratie als Entmaterialisierung der Welt: Zur Aktualität der Philosophien von Günther Anders und Jean Baudrillard (Münster: Waxmann, 1998); Volker Kempf, Günther Anders: Anschlusstheoretiker an Georg Simmel? (Frankfurt am Main: Lang, 2000). The comparative approach to Anders' work is indebted to Werner Jung and Helmut Hildebrandt. For Jung, see his "Verantwortung und/oder Widerstand: Aspekte der Technikkritik und Momente einer neuen Ethik bei Günther Anders, Hans Jonas, und Ulrich Beck" in Verantwortung in Wissenschaft und Technik, ed. Matthias Gatzemeier (Mannheim: Bibliographisches Institut: 1989). For Hildebrandt, see his "Anders und Heidegger" and Weltzustand Technik.

[56] The Günther Anders Forum is also a source for new publications on Anders. See for example Geheimagent der Masseneremiten which it published with Edition Art & Science.

[57] See Lütkehaus, Philosophieren nach Hiroshima. For Liessmann, see three of his writings: "'Das Prinzip Auschwitz'"; "Wiedersehen und vergessen: Zur Biographie"in Geheimagent der Masseneremiten; Günther Anders: Philosophieren im Zeitalter der technologischen Revolutionen (Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck, 1992).

[58] My views of intellectual history and social theory have been influenced considerably by my work with Moishe Postone at the University of Chicago. See his Time, Labor, and Social Domination: A Reinterpretation of Marx's Critical Theory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993). I have also found the following works to be very stimulating in thinking about questions of the methodology of intellectual history. See Martin Jay, "The Textual Approach to Intellectual History" in Force Fields: Between Intellectual History and Cultural Critique (New York: Routledge, 1993); Donald R. Kelley, "What is Happening to the History of Ideas?" Journal of the History of Ideas 51 (Jan-March 1990): 3-25; Dominick LaCapra, Rethinking Intellectual History: Texts, Contexts, Language (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983); idem, Soundings in Critical Theory (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989); Allan Megill, "Recounting the Past: 'Description,' Explanation, and Narrative in Historiography," American Historical Review 94 (1989): 627-653.

[59] On Popper, Malachi Haim Hacohen, Karl Popper—The Formative Years, 1902-1945: Politics and Philosophy in Interwar Vienna (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000; for Jaspers, see Suzanne Kirkbright, Karl Jaspers: A Biography: Navigations in Truth (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004); for Jonas, see Levy's Hans Jonas: The Integrity of Thinking.

[60] Mensch ohne Welt, xi.

prospectus by Jason Dawsey, January 2004, revised September 2004; prepared for web by H. Marcuse, 9/20/04
back to top, to H. Marcuse's Günther Anders' webpage