- Series: Harper Perennial Modern Thought
- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Reissue edition (December 3, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062290703
- ISBN-13: 978-0062290700
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Question Concerning Technology, and Other Essays (Harper Perennial Modern Thought) Paperback – December 3, 2013
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From the Back Cover
The advent of machine technology has given rise to some of the deepest problems of modern thought. Featuring the celebrated essay "The Question Concerning Technology," this prescient volume contains Martin Heidegger's groundbreaking investigation into the pervasive "enframing" character of our understanding of ourselves and the world. As relevant now as ever before, this collection is an essential landmark in the philosophy of science from "one of the most profound thinkers of the twentieth century" (New York Times).
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Top customer reviews
Part 1: "The Question Concerning Technology"; and "The Turning"
Part 2: "The Word of Nietzsche: God is Dead"
Part 3: "The Age of the World Picture"; and "Science and Reflection"
The major question I originally had while looking at this table of contents is: "What could possibly unite such thematically different essays?" The two essays in Part 1 fit together, because they're both about technology; Part 2 is one essay about Nietzsche; and the two essays in Part 3 fit together, because they're both about science and Heidegger's concept of "worlds". But what makes the three parts fit together?
There are some themes that run throughout this volume, especially history, nihilism, and the huge joint theme of science and technology. All of these essays can be seen as elucidations of Heidegger's central doctrine that we live within "the world's night." Part 1 explains how the tides of technology, which turns nature into the standing reserve, transforms modern man in a dangerous way (the phenomenon of "Enframing"). Part 2 then considers Nietzsche's bold attempts to get at the themes of Part 1, so now we look at the tides of technology in terms of nihilism, which is the culmination of the unfolding of the history of metaphysics. Then Part 3 takes all of this together while focusing specifically on modern technological science. The essays certainly work well together, and the editors clearly put a lot of thought into their ordering.
At 182 pages, this is a fairly short book. However, these pages are incredibly rich with content and insight, and if you are anything like me, you will reread these pages again and again. For years on end. The first essay in each of the three parts are classics for good reason, and the shorter essays which follow them help both to clarify the meaning of the classic essays, and also to spell out some of the implications of the classic essays.
I can't speak to the accuracy of the translations because I have never studied the corresponding German texts, but the English prose reads extraordinarily clearly (at least, clearly *for Heidegger,* who is a notoriously complex and subtle writer). Because of the sharp focus of this volume, I would recommend it as a general introduction to Heidegger's thought for those who haven't read him before. I would even recommend reading this before you read the "Basic Writings" or "Being and Time." But after you finish reading this, you will definitely want to see what "Being and Time" was all about. (I should also mention that this volume would be a great syllabus inclusion in courses on the ethics of technology, the philosophy of science, the philosophy of history, existentialism, or even straight-up ethics.)
Finally, the volume "Poetry, Language, Thought" can be read almost like a direct sequel to "The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays." The poetry essays directly respond to the problem of Enframing, and they take up the suggestion at the end of "The Question Concerning Technology" that poetry might be the "saving power" which will save us from the dangers of technology. So "Poetry, Language, Thought" is highly recommended for those who manage to finish this book and are left wondering, as I was: What should we positively do with such apparently pessimistic and nihilistic conclusions about the direction we are heading? And if you want to understand a bit of the background behind this book, the two best things to read are (A) Nietzsche's works, of course, but also (B) Husserl's "The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology," where deals with many of Heidegger's themes, as the "crisis of science" in the title indicates.
In sum, this is an amazing book for those who wish to understand the current state of the world. It is deeply challenging, but it is also the best introduction to Heidegger's thought and themes for those who can stomach the slow pace of reading which these essays will demand of you.