Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ginev, Dimitri. Review of Don Ihde, HEIDEGGER'S TECHNOLOGIES. NDPR (January 2011).

Ihde, Don.  Heidegger's Technologies: Postphenomenological Perspectives.  New York: Fordham UP, 2010.

Don Ihde dedicated his book Technics and Praxis (1979) to the memory of Martin Heidegger. Twenty seven years later he wrote:
I have come to regret that dedication . . . My aversion was not only because of the moral discrepancy, which does arise by equating gas chamber victims and biotechnological corn, but also because I saw that for Heidegger, every technology ended up with exactly the same output or analysis. (1)
The book under review, an impressive collection of interesting studies (some of which have been published previously), supplements the negative sentiments of aversion with a profound critique of Heidegger's philosophy of technology. The range of Ihde’s discussion is remarkable: ideas about the genesis and history of the philosophy of technology; a view about the rise of techno-romanticism; a re-reading of "the Heidegger corpus" from the empirical perspective of science-technology studies; a comparative analysis of the variants upon "autonomous technology" put forward by Heidegger, Jacques Ellul and Lewis Mumford; an explanation of the sense in which Heidegger's philosophy of technology is an existential-phenomenological enterprise; a rebuttal of the arguments for the thesis that modern technology is applied science; a search for a rationale for differentiating between handwork technology and scientific technology; and the doctrine that modern technology is both historically and ontologically prior to modern science. In handling these issues, Ihde tries to avoid appeal to representationalist epistemology in discussing science's cognitive specificity and the science-technology relationship, to replace the metaphysical meta-narrative about the "essence of technology" with a pragmatist account of science-technology, and to combine his phenomenological account of the life-world "in the midst of myriad technologies" with a multicultural diversifying of the Eurocentric story about the metaphysical trajectory of modern technology. . . .

Read the rest here: http://ndpr.nd.edu/review.cfm?id=22570.

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