For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

The question concerning technology

by Heidegger, Martin (1977)

Abstract

The Question Concerning Technology (German: Die Frage nach der Technik) is a work by Martin Heidegger, in which the author discusses the essence of technology. Heidegger originally published the text in 1954, in Vorträge und Aufsätze. Heidegger initially developed the themes in the text in the lecture "The Framework" ("Das Gestell"), first presented on December 1, 1949, in Bremen. "The Framework" was presented as the second of four lectures, collectively called "Insight into what is." The other lectures were titled "The Thing" ("Das Ding"), "The Danger" ("Die Gefahr"), and "The Turning" ("Die Kehre")

Key Passage

But in what, then, does the playing in unison of the four ways of occasioning play? They let what is not yet present arrive into presencing. Accordingly,  they are unifiedly ruled over by a bringing  that brings what presences into appearance. Plato  tells us what this bringing is  in  a  sentence from the Symposium (20sb): he gar toi ek tau me onton eis to on ionti hotoioun aitia pasa  esti poiesis. -"Every occasion for whatever passes over and goes forward into presencing from that which is  not presencing is poiesis, is bringing-forth [Her-vor-bringen] ."9  -It  is of utmost importance that  we  think bringing-forth in its full scope and at the same time in the sense in which the Greeks thought it.  Not only handcraft manufacture, not only artistic and poetical bringing into appearance and concrete imagery,  is a  bringing-forth, poiesis. Physis also, the arising of  something from out of  itself, is  a  bringing-forth, poiesis. Physis is  indeed poiesis in  the highest sense. For what presences by means of physis has the bursting open belonging to  bringing-forth, e.g., the bursting of a  blossom into bloom, in itself (en heautoi). In contrast, what is brought forth by the artisan or the artist, e.g., the silver chalice, has the bursting open belonging to bringing­forth not in itself, but in another (en alloi), in the craftsman or artist. The modes of occasioning, the four causes, are at play, then, within bringing-forth. Through  bringing-forth, the growing things of nature as  well as  whatever is  completed through the crafts and the arts come at any given time to their appearance. But how does bringing-forth happen, be it  in nature  or in handwork and art? What is  the  bringing-forth in  which the fourfold way of occasioning plays? Occasioning has to  do with the presencing [Anwesen] of that  which at  any given  time comes to appearance in bringing-forth. Bringing-forth brings hither out of concealment forth into unconcealment. Bringing-forth comes to  pass only insofar as something concealed  comes into un con­cealment.  This coming rests and moves freely within what we call revealing [das Entbergen].-[The footnote here, (9), is relevant, and states: -The full gamut of meaning for the verb hervorbringen, here function­ing as a  noun, includes to  bring forth or produce, to generate or  beget, to utter, to  elicit. Heidegger intends that all of  these nuances be heard. He hyphenates the word in  order to emphasize  its adverbial prefixes, her­(here or  hither) and vor-(forward or forth). Heidegger elsewhere makes specific the meaning resident in Her-vor-bringen for  him by utilizing  those prefixes independently. Thus he  says (translating literally), "Bringing-forth­hither brings hither out of concealment, forth into unconcealment" (d. be­low, p. 11) ;  and-after identifying working (wirken) and her-vor-bringen­he says that working must be  understood as "bringing hither-into uncon­cealment, forth-into presencing" (SR 161).  Because of  the awkwardness of  the English phrase "to bring forth hither," it has not  been possible  to include in  the translation of her-vor-bringen the nuance of  meaning that her-provides.] (p.10)

Keywords

Heidegger, Technology

Themes

The Question Concerning Technology [1949], Heidegger Citations

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