For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Heidegger's Relevance for Engineering: questioning technology"

by Dias, W P (2003)


Heidegger affirmed traditional technology, but was opposed to science-based modern technology, in which everything (including man) is considered to be a mere "resource". This opposition was expressed in the form of deep questioning and a suspicion of superficial evaluation, because the true nature of things was often concealed, though disclosed at times. Ways in which engineers should question technology are proposed, highlighting some of the hazards and injustices associated with technology and also its subtle sociological and psychological influences. The demands of engineering ethics and the use of metaphor in design are other ways in which a narrowly rationalistic technological outlook can be confronted.

Key Passage

Questioning technology in practice is not an easy task. Not only does it involve areas such as socially acceptable levels of risk, but also issues of justice and values. There is also the need for a shared discourse and consensus, which is increasingly difficult to find today. While the treatment of these subjects is very brief here, the intention has been to argue that engineers should be part and parcel of this questioning process. As Heidegger remarked, “Questioning is the piety of thought”. (p.394)


Heidegger, Technology, Engineering, Education, University, Science, Modernity, Resources, Sociology


Technology, On Heidegger

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