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The Universality of Technology and the Independence of Things

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Heidegger’s Bremen Lectures Once More

image of Research in Phenomenology

In the 1949 Bremen Lectures, Martin Heidegger characterizes the essence of technology as a universal, or total, condition of modern existence. This makes it appear as though nothing can exist in the world independent of the technological. The fact that technology attempts to do away with distance, however, means that technology’s very workings presuppose the existence of distance and nearness that oppose it. Things, insofar as they are, according to Heidegger, essentially near remain independent of technology. By describing the nearness and nearing of things, this article reinterprets the Heideggerian concepts of the fourfold and world-formation to critically challenge the universality of technology. The human experience of things in their spatiality—especially the human aesthetic enjoyment of and abiding with things—is an example of a facet of life where technology does not annihilate distance and nearness.

Affiliations: 1: Lehrstuhl I, Philosophisches Seminar der Albert-Ludwigs-Universität D-79085 FreiburgGermany


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