A Comparison of the Critiques of Technology of Martin Heidegger and Günther Anders

By: Joel Bock  

Much of the scholarly literature pertaining to the relation between the thought of Martin Heidegger and his former student Günther Anders either focuses on the Heideggerian/Husserlian roots of Anders’ own thought or Anders’ scathing critiques of Heidegger. In this paper, however, I aim to set aside these personal and historical dynamics to compare two aspects of their thought that they seemingly share in common: their respective critiques of technology. Both of their most mature reflections on and critiques of the increasingly role of technology in everyday life—Anders’ Die Antiquiertheit des Menschen in 1956 and Heidegger’s "The Question Concerning Technology" from 1953—stem from the same time period, a time when neither had any personal contact with the other. Through comparatively analyzing the didactic presentation, audience and philosophical approaches of their respective works, their respective definitions of modern technology, and their respective diagnoses of what is truly most dangerous about modern technology, I intend to show that while many similarities abound in their analyses, one fundamental difference pervades all of these aspects of their respective critiques of technology: the much greater level of abstraction at the core of Heidegger’s thought in comparison to that of Anders.

Heidegger, Anders, Technology, Abstraction, Atomic Bomb, Television, Radio, Human Nature
Technologies and Human Usability
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Joel Bock

Graduate Assistant, Philosophy, DePaul University, United States
United States

I am a graduate student in the DePaul University Department of Philosophy. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy form Colorado College and a Master of Arts in German Studies from Middlebury College, which included a year-long exchange at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität in Mainz, Germany. My main philosophical interests include Ancient Greek philosophy (especially Aristotle), 19th and 20th century Germany philosophy (especially Hegel and the Frankfurt School), and the philosophy of technology.