Heidegger: The Question Concerning Technology

This was my first "questioning" for CMNS 857 Philosophy of Technology. For more information, see this linked post.

In what way do we, or can we, have a say in the next epoch of Being? What is Dasein’s relationship to the clearing; is it determined? Can we really make a choice?

If there is one philosopher, one thinker and author, that I could best align myself right now it would be Heidegger. Even having only read a small fraction, even with only fully understanding the smallest sliver, I can see/think/feel the unthinkable ramifications or consequences of his thought. What is interesting - now having had the excuse to spend more time directly with his thoughts on technology - is how concerned he is with the essence of phenomena. At the same time, the moment I think I have “got it,” he zooms off into another direction that I hadn’t suspected. As I try to pin him down, he squeezes right past me.

Taken as given his history of Being, I get where he is headed and where/what he is pointing towards. My concern, and Dreyfus approaches this sideways, is what we, as Dasein, as human beings, have to say about Enframing, the clearing, the whole lot. “That is, although our understanding of things and ourselves as resources to be ordered, enhanced, and used efficiently has been building up since Plato and dominates our practices, we are not stuck with it. It is not the way things have to be, but nothing more or less than our current cultural clearing.” (Dreyfus, 102).

I concur. But, then, why is Heidegger most often misunderstood? Why is he a substantivist? I just scanned a piece by a philosopher of education who claimed to be offering a summary and critique of Heidegger’s QCT. And, to be blunt, he was quite unsuccessful. He fell into the same trap that it seems so many others--you cannot argue with Heidegger’s thought outside of the clearing within which his thought exists. The second you analyze and categorize and look for the “inherent properties” the structure collapses, slips away, unseen. Put differently, as I process my frustration with this author, you cannot technologize Heidegger’s thoughts on technology. If you do, you have missed the point... and wasted a reader’s time.


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