Hitler's appropriation of Nietzsche's philosophy is well know, but what is less publicised is the support he drew from intellectuals such as Heidegger, who openly supported his campaigns. Other (non-German) philosophers spoke openly against him (notably Sartre). To what extent is philosophy open to propaganda in terms of celebrity? Other historical examples are welcomed.

  • "To what extent is philosophy open" -- I wonder if we could refine this question frame a bit? What exactly would you like someone to explain to you?
    – Joseph Weissman
    Sep 9 '16 at 1:42
  • @JosephWeissman I am just intersted in other historical examples, really - as long as they are evidence based, and not subjective
    – martin
    Sep 9 '16 at 1:43
  • 2
    Marx and Adam Smith have both been used for ideological propaganda... Sep 9 '16 at 9:31
  • 1
    Locke is still used by extreme libertarians in propaganda against any form of governmental intervention.
    – Philip Klöcking
    Aug 1 '17 at 21:16
  • 1
    It may not classify as propaganda, but Sartre was very close to Che Guevara, who he called "the only whole man" he had ever met. Aug 2 '17 at 0:17

Perhaps he isn't a philosopher, but I would argue Freud's understanding of psychology influenced his nephew Edward Bernays, the man who (literally) wrote the book on propaganda. I would say that Bernays has had a significant influence on marketing practices in the United States, and whether or not his methods were ultimately successful, they have had a lasting cultural impact within this particular country.

  • thanks for your great answer - not terribly well framed question, but will mark as accept owing to introduction to Bernays - thanks :)
    – martin
    Aug 1 '17 at 17:46
  • I up voted your answer because of the introduction to Bernays as well. Right in line with a project I'm working on. Aug 2 '17 at 0:08
  • 1
    If you are both interested, the BBC documentary maker Adam Curtis made an acclaimed four part documentary on the influence of Freud and Bernays called "The Century of the Self" - you should be able to find it on YouTube. If you haven't seen any of Curtis' films, you should know that he occasionally plays fast and loose with the facts in exchange for telling sweeping (and occasionally conspiratorial) stories about historical events. That said, it should still provide an excellent jumping off point for any further research into the subject.
    – smb3
    Aug 2 '17 at 0:21

Some of the most prominent supporters of a recommendation of Adolf Hitler are: Eugen Fischer, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Martin Heidegger, Emanuel Hirsch, Wilhelm Pinder, Ferdinand Sauerbruch, Eberhard Schmidt, Friedrich Karl Schumann.

A rather complete list of the signatories including many famous philosophers and mathematicians can be found here

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.