For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

The question concerning technology

by Heidegger, Martin (1977)


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

Yet an airliner that stands on the runway is surely an  object. Certainly. We can represent the machine so. But then it conceals itself as  to  what and how it is.  Revealed, it  stands on the taxi strip only as  standing-reserve, inasmuch as it  is  ordered to  en­sure  the possibility of transportation. For  this it must be in its whole structure and in everyone of its constituent parts, on call for duty, i.e., ready for takeoff. (Here it  would be appropriate to  discuss  Hegel's definition of  the  machine as  an autonomous tool. When applied to the tools of the craftsman, his  characteri­zation is correct. Characterized in this way, however, the machine is not thought at all from out of the essence of technology within which it  belongs. Seen in  terms  of the standing-reserve, the machine is  completely unautonomous, for it  has  its standing only from the ordering of the orderable.)  (p.17)


Heidegger, Technology


The Question Concerning Technology [1949], Heidegger Citations

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