For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Reification through Commodity Form or Technology? From Honneth back to Heidegger and Marx"

by Lotz, Christian (2013)


After briefly criticizing Honneth's recent reconceptualization of reification as (1) psychological and (2) noneconomic, I outline the problem of reification from the perspective of Marx, which prepares the confrontation that I present between Heidegger and Marx, for the real issue is whether reification is the result of technology (which I will call ?causality form?) or the result of the commodity form. I claim, against Heidegger, that Marx's concept of the commodity form is not based on subjectivity and, in addition, that Heideggerian ontology is unable to explain the connection between ?enframing? and the capitalist structures that Heidegger implies in his descriptions of modern phenomena. Accordingly, this essay tries to open a new path towards what has recently been called ?Heideggerian Marxism.

Key Passage

As Heidegger argues in his technology essay, modern technology should be understood as (1) the loss of the unity between thing and world (‘‘de-worlding’’) and as (2) the reduction of ‘‘technics’’ to a single form of causality, namely, causa materialis. When Heidegger introduces the essence of modern technology in histechnology essay, he claims that modern technology is still a form of revealing, but the revealing is now of a different character, which he calls challenging (Herausfordern). This transition is important, as it allows us to reject the claim that the difference between modern and nonmodern technology seems to be absolutein Heidegger. It is rather the opposite: there is no essential difference between modern and nonmodern technology. What changes, however, is the instrumentality itself, which as we need to recall is for Heidegger the relationship between the four causes. Consequently, modern technology is characterized by the opposite of or destruction of indebtedness (as the basic principle for how all aspects of a thing come together in the ancient concept of ‘‘technics’’), the main consequence of which is that the material moment of beings becomes separated from the other three causes. (p.194)


Heidegger, Marx, Commodity, Technology


Technology, On Heidegger, Marx

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