Martin Heidegger Essay Research Paper Note The

Martin Heidegger Essay, Research Paper

Note: The main work from which text was drawn is “The Question Concerning

Technology” by Martin Heidegger.

Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher, who developed existential

phenomenology and has been widely regarded as the most original

20th-century philosopher. His works include complicated essays such as “An

introduction to Metaphysics” and “The Question Concerning Technology.” In

his essay “The Question Concerning Technology,” Heidegger attempts to

create several intricate arguments regarding technology and the

significance of information. One prominent theme in this essay is the idea

and meaning of info rmation.

Heidegger presents his thoughts by searching for the roots of the ideas

behind information. He includes many references to German, Greek and Latin

vocabulary to better explain his ideas. In order to fully understand the

meaning and significance of informa tion, one must be educated as to the

accurate definitions of some basic vocabulary regarding information. The

first word that is significant to the idea of information that Heidegger

explains to the reader is “episteme.” Episteme in basic translation can be

defined as “knowledge.” “(Episteme is a term)? for knowing in the widest

sense? (it) means to be entirely at home with something, to understand and

be expert in it. Such knowing provides an opening up. As an opening it up

it is a revealing.” This leads

to the next expression, “alethia.” Alethia is used by Heidegger the same

way it was defined by the ancient Greeks; “revealing.” This same word is

translated by the Romans to “veritas.” Again, “veritas” in English is used

to mean “truth” which can be unde rstood as “correctness and

representation.” It is in this change, due to translation of ideas, that

Heidegger notices some inconsistencies.

Information is an often misused term in Heidegger?s opinion. As previously

noted, the translation from one language to another can often turn true

definitions of words askew, and this can cause serious problems with

larger concepts of technology and an id ea of “enframing” (gestell).

Gestell is a German word whose direct translation means “enframing.” The

idea of enframing is also quite prevalent in this essay.

“We now name that challenging claim which gathers man thither to order the

self-revealing as standing-reserve: “ge-stell” (enframing). We dare to use

this word in a sense that has been thoroughly unfamiliar up to now.

According to ordinary usage, the word

Gestell (frame) means some kind of apparatus, e.g., a bookrack. Gestell

is also the name for a skeleton. And the employment of the word

Gestell(enframing) that is now required of us seems equally eerie, not to

speak of the arbitrariness with which words of a mature language are so



“Enframing means the gathering together of that setting-upon that sets man

upon man, i.e., challenges him to bring forth, to reveal the real, in the

mode of ordering, as standing reserve. Enframing means that way of

revealing that holds sway in the essenc e of modern technology and that it

is itself nothing technological.” Heidegger is portraying the idea that

gestell is not a tangible object but more of a concept, a way of

classifying. Although it may seem possible to step away from this

“gestell” it is i mpossible. Regardless of outside influences there is

still the underlying revelation that occurs through gestell. In the idea

of gestell lies the idea of information. Information is indebted (aion) to

enframing (gestell), just as enframing is indebted (ai on) to revealing

(alethia). Alethia is then indebted (aion) to knowledge (episteme). These

cycles of indebtedness are recognized by Heidegger and are called the four


the causa materialis, the material, the matter out of which, for example,

a silver chalice is made.

the causa formalis, the form, the shape into which the material enters.

the causa finalis, the end, for example, the sacrificial rite to which the

chalice required is determined as to its form and matter

the causa efficiens, which brings about the effect that is the finished,

actual chalice, in this instance, the silversmith.

The significance of these four causes becomes more readily apparent when

the definition of indebtedness is further understood. The basic idea of

indebtedness and of being responsible is often misinterpreted. Again,

Heidegger introduces terminology that wi ll better describe what is meant

by indebtedness and responsibility. “Poiesis” literally means

“bringing-forth” and this is the definition that Heidegger intended when

describing the four causes. Heidegger recognizes that the “causa finalis ”

is brought f orth by a combination of other causes and is incapable of

“repaying” the debt that is produced. It simply exists. “Bringing-forth

brings out of concealment into unconcealment. Bringing forth comes to pass

only insofar as something concealed comes into unc oncealment.” Poiesis is

rooted in the word “alethia” (which was previously mentioned.)

This ever cyclical concept about information was one of the main features

of Heidegger?s work in “The Question Concerning Technology.” Each idea is

linked to another which joins other ideas to produce a web of thoughts and

ideas. The whole of any piece is

not as significant as the sum of the parts. Every part, whether it be as

simple as an idea on making a silver chalice or as complicated as the

essence of technology, is not viewed upon alone and this idea of many

parts being inseparable is noted by Marti n Heidegger. As to if he agrees

that this is a good thing, the answer would be no. He thinks that in order

to find the place of an object or notion, one must be completely separate

from it and view it from a completely unbiased viewpoint. This would be im

possible. Human falibility creates gestell (enframing) that links and

associates all ideas together.


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