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We Need to Talk About Heidegger

Essays Situating Martin Heidegger in Contemporary Media Studies

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Edited By Justin Michael Battin and German A. Duarte

This collection assembles a number of chapters engaging different strands of Martin Heidegger’s philosophy in order to explore issues relevant to contemporary media studies. Following the release of Heidegger’s controversial Black Notebooks and the subsequent calls to abandon the philosopher, this book seeks to demonstrate why Heidegger, rather than be pushed aside and shunned by media practitioners, ought to be embraced by and further incorporated into the discipline, as he offers unique and often innovative pathways to address, and ultimately understand, our daily engagements with media-related phenomena.

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Take a Wander in My Shoes: Of Zombeing, Twombs, and Equipmentality

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1Equip-mentality/equipment-ality

This chapter considers the continued critical import of Heidegger’s notion of equipmentality in grappling with contemporary currents and problems within the mediatory or, as I prefer to term it, the immediatory sphere. Within Heidegger’s thought “equipmentality” marks out an exhilarating conception that equipment is never something that exists objectively “out there” (Vorhanden) but which instead inheres so deeply within our each and every comportment (Verhalten) that we rarely get to see it in operation. For when such equipment is ready-to-hand (Zuhanden) and is operating effectively, and when it is really there working for us, we do not really recognize, in any removed sense, that we are there using it. Equipmentality thus bypasses classical notions of a detached “mentality” and so we must never, according to Heidegger, equate equipmentality in any cognate way with calculative cognition. This is the first sense in which we can think equipmentality as “equip-mentality,” in that it marinates the entirety of who we are and is thus never in any way at all some sheer “thing” that we would pick up and apply. Such is the “space” of equipment, in that it is never distanced or decidedly set apart from us. Secondly, it is in the very character of equipment that it has the quality, the “equipment-ality,” of structural holism. As a consequence of this holism, equipment is never engaged with in the singular, and so one can never isolate any single “part” of it outside of the ongoing whole, without...

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