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Modernity and Destining of Technological Being

Beyond Heidegger’s Critique of Technology to Responsible and Reflexive Technology

Temple Davis Okoro

Facing Heidegger’s critique of modern technology, the author analyses the question of technology and ethical responsibility and the call for reflexivity towards technology. He examines Heidegger‘s thoughts about how science and technology conceal the enigmatic and distinctive presencing of Being and exhibits how modern technology has brought unintended consequences and risks. The author extends the deliberation among diverse epistemologies, interested parties and laypersons, a component of reflexive modernization. Such epistemic community opens the way for a new reflexive democratization of technology, in which different actors should be involved in decision making about technology as it affects the society, the environment and individuals.
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General Introduction


Heidegger saw his career as a philosopher to re-awaken the forgotten question of being. He tried to free being from the oblivion into which it has been downgraded by traditional metaphysical perception of being. His approach was two-dimensional: negatively, when he called for destruction of; and positively when he opted for a reformation of the Being-question.

In his book, What is Called Thinking, Heidegger repeatedly declared: “The most thought-provoking is that we are still not thinking.”1 To put it in another way, we are still involved in a strictly logical thinking that is in keeping with the metaphysical and technological culture of modern societies. The supremacy of human reason over Being reaches its zenith, Heidegger notes, in the science of logic, which as the ‘science of thinking’ has been the tribunal, before which Being must stand.2

The problematic decline of our understanding of Being, according to Heidegger, began in ancient Greek thought. The pre-Socratics had a deeper notion of Being than the Socratic and Platonic philosophers. Despite the fact that Plato was to some extent still conscious of the ‘presencing’ attributes of Being, it was he, however, who first interpreted Being as constant presence or eidos, the eternally unchanging form, and in doing so, inaugurated Western metaphysics. Heidegger interprets metaphysics as a science of being as Being. Its prime concern, in essence, is not being (Sein), but the beingness of beings. The beingness of being was assimilated in the highest entity, which Aristotle...

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