Thursday, March 29, 2007

Heidegger, Gaylen, and Plessner

A society of narcissists? Heidegger attempts to uncover the nature of being using the concept of Dasein; one that was left untouched by earlier philosophers. In contrast to Gaylen’s view, Heidegger believes that man is not fundamentally liked to technology, but instead uses technology to understand ourselves and the world around us. Ready-at-hand and present-to-hand are ways that he describes our interactions with the world. Most of us understand it through the first, meaning that we interact with objects without concern for how it came to be, the object is invisible to us until it breaks and we are forced to observe it just as it is. Authenticity is what the dasein ultimately strives for; a way of coming to grips with our projects. Often times though people are in an inauthentic state in which they are simply filling their lives with idle talk, rather than focusing their energies on tasks to be done.
One of the concepts that pushed me towards Heidegger’s side was his belief about new technology and old technology being fundamentally different. The description of being unfree and chained to new technology, in the way that are trapped and have no understanding of the essence really made sense to me. With all the technological advancements, human beings are consumed by materialistic items; they will go to great links to obtain them. We look at the world as a standing reserve, there for us to use it, with no concern about the long-term effects of our actions. We essentially have lost what it means to be human, because we don’t stop for long enough to view the through poesis.
Both poesis and techne are ways of revealing the world to us, but one represents a huge threat. Techne overrides our need for self-discovery and undermines us in an existential sense. When we have all of these material things that take up time and space, we don’t feel the need to start our own projects, we simply use ones that are already there. I propose we all take the time in our lives to slow down a little and really appreciate the vast world were living in. 3.28.07 Andrea Fish Philosophy Permalink
We have examined two very interesting views on technology recently; one of which is Heidegger’s and one Plessner’s. Plessner stresses the idea that our bodies can take over our minds when we, for example, laugh or cry. He believes humans are unique to this trait. Heidegger stresses the authenticity and individual essence an object emits. Technology isn’t just a mere ”human doing,” but it is a revealing and a true understanding.
Human emotions are more advanced, maybe more complicated, when it comes to showing emotion. Sometimes we cry when we wish not too; sometimes people laugh at inappropriate moments when they try to force themselves not to. I think this could be because, as we have discussed in earlier classes, humans have a deeper sense of understanding. We understand what a friend’s funny expression means. We understand the grief we see on a movie screen. Animals cannot express these emotions because they are not capable of them. Therefore, I agree with Plessner that this ability to cry and laugh without any physical influence is unique to humans. I say physical influence because, yes, animals can whimper and babies and cry, but it is usually because of a physical factor, such as being hit or injured.
Heidegger takes our usual definition and idea of technology and gives it a deeper meaning. He writes that technology is not merely a means of arriving at a certain conclusion, but it has its own essence, and can portray that essence to us. “What has the essence of technology have to do with revealing? The answer: everything…Technology is a way of revealing. If we give heed to this, then another whole realm for the essence of technology will open itself up to us. It is the realm of revealing, i.e., of truth (126).”
I find it interesting that Heidegger identifies revealing with the truth. He sees technology not as a controlled object, but as something that can express itself to us through several factors. His opinion in some ways is difficult to grasp during parts of his article, but, overall, his idea that technology is attaining more and more power over humans today is valid. 3.28.07 Jennifer Crabill Philosophy Permalink

poesis and techne From what I understood from class on Tuesday is that Heidegger thinks there are two different ways of revealing truths of the world- through poesis and techne. Poesis is made referenced to as poetry and our thoughtful expressions of truth. This means we can merely sense the world for what it is up front and through our experiences with it come to the understanding of truths. Thus, there are plenty of literary works representing truths of the world applicable to life or merely for the world’s sake. (I easily associate the world with the environment and nature I don’t know if this is the wrong mindset).

A practical example of poesis is this: one can apply and express the crashing of waves on the rocks and turning current flows a river to the sappy break up of a girlfriend who has found new meaning and outlook on relationships with a social change occurring in her life (sounds like a top hit emo song…but I digress). Where as techne is the understanding of finding truth through the world as means for our projects that further out ends. For example, we intentionally look at a river as a resource to generate power that will produce electricity in a factory that slaughters meat for me to eat. Okay, so we have an understanding of these 2 things…

I think Heidegger won’t fully comprehend the truths of the world by only using poesis methods. He won’t do so because poesis limits truth to world’s natural process (however that is defined) and provides some sort of aesthetic significance when the world’s capabilities are so much more when we recognize them and utilize them to our advantage, hence techne methods. I wont know the truths that a river could generate electricity if I was only sold on thinking about the river as a body of water, which begins from some mountain top and ends in the ocean, and not to mention the processes of evaporation and precipitation.

By all means am I not saying its right or just to utilize the world in whatever way it holds capability to further or advantage humans’ ends. But I would hold fast that Heidegger won’t find all the truths possible of the world without reasoning and thinking through the processes of techne. Good. 3.28.07 John Creger Philosophy Permalink

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