Term Paper: Heidegger the Question of Technology

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[. . .] Thus, there exists an inherent inadequacy in science to form the basis of social order. Technology does not go away when we stop driving cars, and science does not cease to dictate our lives if we decide to become abstract painters. Science therefore is not a map that can be discarded and replaced by a new paradigm. It mirrors the very configuration of ourselves as modern people. As that which gave rise to a technological understanding of the world, and thereby to science itself, the idea of 'Enframing' is the root of both benefit and danger that accompanies technology. Enframing dominates what is in such a way that denies the possibility of another system of thought. "Enframing blocks the shining-forth and holding-sway of truth that may contradict those ideas which science has brought forth. Technology is not dangerous in and of itself. There is no demonic aspect of technology, but technology and the scientific method have effectively blocked the path for the emergence of other ways to define being. This is the paradox of the Enframing aspect of technology over life. To the extent that technology enframes our lives, it ceases to be a way in which being reveals itself, but more effectively obscures the possibility of additional truth.

In many ways, this understanding of technology can be compared to the hold which religious thought had over society before the rise of the modern sciences. Religious thought was perceived as the answer to all of life's questions. Religious dominance over life was unquestioned, and in many cases absolute. AS such, religious thought was the predominant enframing influence of being before science came to the forefront of modern life. In much way's technology now holds the place which religious though inhabited. As such, it looses some of its ability to evaluate and investigate modern life.

T]he danger, namely, Being in itself endangering itself in the truth of its coming to presence, remains veiled and disguised, this disguising is what is most dangerous in the danger. In keeping with this disguising of the danger through the ordering belonging to Enframing, it seems time and time again as through technology were a means in the hands of man. But, in truth, it is the coming to presence of man that is now being ordered forth to lend a hand to the coming to presence of technology"

Thus being, and the experience of human existence is put into danger in its relationship to technology because technology itself goes beyond the control of the modern subject and reaches into the very act of defining modern life. Science ceases to be a way of revealing being and becomes an activity in which subjects participate in the defining of being. Researchers and scientists gather data and draw conclusions not because it speaks to a need within human existence, but because it adds to the body of scientific knowledge that is increasingly defining human life. This is not the original intent of technology, as was described in the chalice metaphor.

The advancement of science as the dominant world view within which we enframe ourselves has given rise to two specific fallacies which threaten man's ability to identify being, and sciences ability to identify truth. More severe in impact than merely misdirected investigation, the redefinition of being in terms of technology, and the controlling sway of science over life have grown to the extent that they have now become counterproductive to revealing truth. First, science has extended its reach to where it can be used to legitimize a claim whose merit would hardly stand on its own. This is not necessarily because those who use science to validate such claims do so in bad faith, but rather because science is understood as a methodology whose foundation lies separate from human existence. Such is the case of the irrational and unfounded continued support for Darwin's theory of evolution. Secondly, driven by a desire to make a new "discovery" about the nature of objects, many scientists have abandoned their consciences as human beings for the cause of science, as in the case of cloning human beings for the purpose of harvesting tissue for human experimentation.

This shift from using science as a means to identify human life, and being to using science as a means to justify human efforts to control human life is at the center of de Landa's concerns over modernity, and the rise of scientific abilities. The advent of smart technology which can be set in motion, and make decisions for itself is one step closer to creating the iconic artificial intelligence. At what point, de Landa wonders, will science and technology be the controller of being, rather than the servants of being. Heidegger suggests that we have already crossed this boundary in the scientific community. The only remaining factor is that scientists and researchers still pursue the advancement of science, and scientific creations cannot do this on their own, yet.

The modernist paradigm, that the scientific method will define all answers for human life and being is an aging construct. Born at the time in which science was discovering a vast array of new knowledge about being, and replacing religious thought as the dominant cultural influence, science has evolved to the level of becoming a new religion, pursues blindly by it's own clerics. Perhaps the time has arrives for us to reconsider the basis of life, and re-identify the content, and context of being outside the scientific lens.


Dreyfus, Hubert L. "Heidegger on the Connection between Nihilism, Art, Technology, and Politics," from The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger, edited by Charles Guignon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. Pp. 289-316

Dreyfus, Hubert L. "Heidegger's History of the Being of Equipment" from Heidegger: A Critical Reader, edited by Hubert L. Dreyfus and Harrison Hall. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers, 1992. Pp. 173-185.

Foucault, Michel. The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. New York: Vintage Books, 1970. pp.46-76, 217-249

Heidegger, Martin. "The Age of the World Picture," from The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays, Trans. William Lovitt (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1977).

Heidegger, Martin. Discourse on Thinking, trans. John M. Anderson and E. Hans Freund. New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1966.

Heidegger, Martin. "The Question Concerning Technology," from The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays, Trans. William Lovitt (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1977).

Heidegger, Martin. "Science and Reflection," from The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays, Translated by William Lovitt. New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1977.

Heidegger, Martin. "The Thing," from Poetry, Language, Thought. Translated by Albert Hofstadter. New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1971.

Heidegger, Martin. "The Turning," from The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays, Translated by William Lovitt. New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1977.

Heidegger, Martin. What is a Thing? Translated by W.B. Barton, Vera Deutsch. Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1967. Pp. 1-54

Scheibler, Ingrid. "Heidegger and the Rhetoric of Submission: Technology and Passivity," from Rethinking Technologies, edited by Verena Andermatt Conley. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993. Pp. 115-139.

Heidigger, 1971, p. 165

Science and reflection, 1977, p. 157

Science and reflection, 1977, p. 167

The question concerning technology, 1977, p. 22

Questions concerning technology, 1977

Dreyfus, 1993, p. 307

Science and Reflection, 1977, p. 176

The Turning, 1977, p.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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