For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Further Reflections on Heidegger, Technology, and the Everyday"

by Dreyfus, Hubert L; Spinosa, Charles (2003)


This article traces the trajectory of Heidegger's thinking about technology over the course of what is considered to be his early, middle, and late periods. Over the course of the years, Heidegger's concerns moved from somewhat conventional concerns over the consumerism technology entails, and the damage it causes to the environment, to the more complex position that technicity distorts human nature with an accompanying loss of meaning. The real danger, he said, is not the destruction of nature or culture, nor self-indulgent consumerism, but a new totalizing style of practices that would restrict our openness to people and things by driving out all other styles of practice that enable us to be receptive to realty.

Key Passage

Heidegger sees technology as disaggregating our identities into a contingently built-up collection of skills, technological things solicit certain skills without requiring that we take ourselves as having one kind of identity or another. This absence may make our mode of being as world disclosers invisible to us. This absence of worlds and disclosing would be what Heidegger calls the greatest danger. But this absence could also allow us to become sensitive to the various identities we have when we are engaged in disclosing the different worlds focused by different kinds of things. Then, as such disclosers, we could even respond to technological things as revealing one kind of local world and become sensitive to our openness to the mystery of worlds arriving. Hence, Heidegger’s view of technology allows him to find a positive relation to it, but only so long as we maintain skills for disclosing other kinds of local worlds. (p.348)


Heidegger. Technology, Dreyfus, Everyday Life, Culture, Consumerism, Environmentalism


Technology, On Heidegger

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