Heidegger on Information Technology


My aim in this paper is to begin a discussion about how, and to what extent, Martin Heidegger’s thinking about technology offers helpful critical terms for thinking about the nature and global sway of today’s most dominant and prevalent forms of technology, namely the interrelated technologies of information, communication, and (capitalist) commerce. My suggestion will be that Heidegger’s thought does indeed have implications for critical thinking about these technologies, but that in order to see how it does, we may have to deepen and further radicalize some of Heidegger’s suggestions about essence, being, and form. This need for deepening is connected with the way in which these specific technologies themselves depend on the character and structure of language , in that they present themselves as effective means for the manipulation, storage, retrieval and exchange of broadly linguistic, symbolic, and informational material. In fact, in the context of Heidegger’s late thought about technology as well as language, the syntagm “information technology” itself – a term that, as far as I know, Heidegger himself never used – nevertheless points the way, as I shall argue, to a deepening of the Heideggerian inquiry into form which itself can facilitate an improved critical understanding of the implications of these technologies for life around the planet today



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Paul Livingston
University of New Mexico

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