The ‘Letter on Humanism’ is a work that was written in response to a series of questions by Heidegger’s French Colleague Jean Beaufret (10 November 1946) with regard to Sartre’s address, given earlier that year, Existentialism is a Humanism. Heidegger’s letter, originally finished in December 1946, was formally published in the following year, having been expanded into an essay. In the following pages, I will analyse Heidegger’s Letter, not only as a free-standing essay, but more specifically as a direct response to Sartre’s attempt to characterise existentialism as a form of humanism. In this difficult piece, it is important to read each sentence slowly and carefully in relation to the ongoing train of thought, but also in relation to the essay as a whole.
To read this essay, please visit Heidegger’s ‘Letter on Humanism’