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The striking thing to me about the "Ivory Tower hypothesis" is that it assumes that we need some wholly distinctive theory of why German philosophers became Nazis. Plenty of ordinary Germans became Nazis without the benefit of any ivory tower. And plenty of German elites who were not philosophers became Nazis, too.

elisa freschi

I was about to post a comment similar to Dave's: Would Palmer say the same about the many natural scientists who also espoused Nazism?

Moti Mizrahi

Thanks for the comments, Dave and Elisa. I suppose Palmer would say that natural science is unlike philosophy in that respect. That is, he would claim that, unlike philosophy, there is content to natural science. (I have no idea what he means by "having no content.") He would claim that, unlike philosophy, natural science does consist in the discovery of new facts. (Is that true?) And so on. So I suppose he would offer a different explanation for why some German scientists espoused Nazism.


It struck me that German, Aryan, academics saw a way to keep more of "their kind" in academia, so they espoused it on economic grounds. Academia (there and then) is all government work and is zero-sum. So for every Jewish professor they got rid of, an Aryan could take his place and get his job. Promoting a legal mechanism for doing this, whatever that may be, seems commonly enough accepted in philosophy.

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