Heidegger and the essence of modern technology [article]

Michael Gordon Sloane, University, The Australian National, University, The Australian National
In this thesis I explore the problem of the nature of modern technology by posing the question: 'What is the essence of Heidegger's critique of modern technology and what are its limitations as an account of our relationship to technology?' My response is that Heidegger's critique of technology rests upon an investigation of the understanding of the being of beings in modem philosophy and the manner in which this underpins the modern conception of human existence and scientific knowledge. I
more » ... ic knowledge. I argue that Heidegger's work on the metaphysical foundations which underlie the union of modern science and technology yielded two crucial findings. Firstly, the form of knowledge manifest in modem science is indistinguishable from the practical knowledge that Aristotle called techne. Secondly, throughout the history of Western metaphysics being itself has been understood through an analogy with artefacts. Heidegger reaches the first of these conclusions through a critique of the role of the subject in modern metaphysics. This critique consists in a demonstration of the fact that modem philosophy has produced a distorted account of human existence because it has unwittingly carried over an understanding of being and scientific knowledge from medieval philosophy. Heidegger correctly argues that throughout the history of Western philosophy priority has been given to 'substance' as a means of understanding being; this is coupled with the fact that being has been understood through an analogy with artefacts. I argue that Heidegger's critique of technology reveals the structure of natural science in the ancient, medieval and modern periods to be dependent upon the different senses in which beings were understood as artefacts in each period. Furthermore, I argue that despite deficiencies in his interpretation of Descartes and his elevation of a dogmatic reading of the history of metaphysics to a description of the nature of being itself, Heidegger's critique of the priority given to substance remains an insightful demonstration of th [...]
doi:10.25911/5d7638e397e63 fatcat:ksiq2upaejdirey7ssdvkphi3a