Heidegger's radical critique of technology as an outline of social acts


  • Wolfgang Schirmacher European Graduate School
  • Torgeir Fjeld Ereignis Center for Philosophy and the Arts




Heidegger, phenomenology, metaphysics, universalism, technology


The present text shows that the prevailing view of Martin Heidegger's approach to society and technology is not only based on prejudice, but more importantly works to obscure a more relevant perception of reality. Heidegger's “phenomenological hermeneutic” sought to uncover technology's hidden truth, beyond the appearance of technology as framing our existence (Gestell). Even if we acknowledge that technology has now reached a planetary and all-encompassing dissemination – becoming, in effect, the leading figure of our time – we still need to remain vigilant to the metaphysical notions embedded in such a characteristic. We should seek other ways of living with and within technology. A radical critique should seek topologies and “orders” that are universal and preliminary, so that by potentially exceeding every demarcation we can be liberated to a way of listening – a “hearing” (Hören) – to a “constellation” of a different “essence of technology”.

Author Biographies

Wolfgang Schirmacher, European Graduate School

Wolfgang Schirmacher is Professor at the European Graduate School, Switzerland and Malta, where he founded the Philosophy Programme in 1998. He has previously taught at the New School for Social Research, and at the Polytechnic University in New York. He is President of the Internationale Schopenhauer-Vereinigung — Forum für offenes Philosophieren. Writing in the tradition of Nietzsche and Heidegger Schirmacher relies on the notion of Homo generator and specific life techniques to give an affirmative interpretation of artificial life. His main areas of philosophy is media, technology and the art of living.

Torgeir Fjeld, Ereignis Center for Philosophy and the Arts

Dr. Torgeir Fjeld is editor-in-chief of Inscriptions and Head of the Ereignis Center for Philosophy and the Arts. He has taught at universities in the UK, USA, Norway, Poland and South Africa, and is the author of Rock Philosophy (forthcoming on Vernon Press), Perversion's Beyond and dressage and illusio. Fjeld studies temporality, films, and releasement.