Kva er moderne teknologi? : om Heidegger og teknikken i nyare tid
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Life in the modern age is becoming increasingly more reliant on machine technology. Still, do we know what modern technology is? In asking this ontological question, I will inquire into the philosophy of Martin Heidegger. After a very selective introduction to the history of modern philosophy, I will provide an analysis of Heidegger’s monumental work Being and Time, in which he famously claims that the most fundamental problem of all thought is the question of the meaning, i.e. the truth, of being. He concludes that being can only be disclosed through a resolute self-projection onto one’s own heritage. Though laden with profound insights, Heidegger’s early revolution of thought, I hold, is still influenced by the very subjectivism it tries to overcome. After Being and Time, Heidegger turns towards an ever more antihumanistic view of being. According to his later thinking, beings can never be a product of human intellect or will, but rather come to disclose themselves through a veiling of beings as a whole. However, because the human being is immersed in his everyday occupations with beings, he fails to acknowledge the hidden source of beings as such. This obliviousness to the self-concealing ground of being especially befalls modern technological man, who increasingly turns his back on the dark soil from which his being towards beings has its origin. Thereby man becomes estranged from his own limitations in relation to being. The essence of truth, says Heidegger, is not correctness, but a more primordial unconcealedness. I argue that Heidegger conceives of modern technology as a way of unconcealment, as a technique that discloses being as something infinite and absolute. In this method of disclosing truth, which is closely connected with logic and mathematical science, Heidegger sees the consummation of European metaphysics beginning with Plato. As the high point of western ego-centricity, modern man now plans, calculates and arranges nature in accordance with his own image. Building on egoistic certainty, which itself stems from Cartesian doubt and insecurity, this modern technique dismisses any other way of disclosing truth as fallacious. In a closing discussion I maintain that Heidegger’s definition of modern technology is a lacerating critique of the modern age. Through the infinite validity of the Platonic realm of ideas, modern man has forgotten the meaningful delimitation of being which lies in his own finitude. While Heidegger’s solution to the modern lack of purpose inclines towards a nostalgic return to pre-industrial agriculture, I question whether such a turn of events would really overcome the essence of present day technology.