Thursday, April 05, 2012
Warwick Mules on technē in Foucault and Heidegger.
In his deliberations on technology, Heidegger refers to the Greek term technē, which means a way of bringing things to presence. In human technē, things are brought to presence through the application of a plan or calculation as that being presently there to be seen. Technē anticipates being in the backward glance that will bring the thing to presence (its eidos).

We should be careful not to construe technē simply in terms of a technique for making things. Rather technē is a mode of revealing something by way of a challenging forth. Technē sets upon things, appropriates them and orders them according to a plan or calculation. It challenges them in their being, to be something else, implying a violence to their being. This, in turn, is distinguished from poiēsis which is a bringing forth – a letting be by allowing something to become what it is in its being. Challenging forth and bringing forth are not alternative modes of presencing, but should be thought together. Poiēsis – as a bringing forth – is that which resists the challenging forth of technē. Technē thus entails a poiēsis but not on its own terms.

Beings, in their resistive affirmation to technē, are always being-in-potential-to-be-otherwise, in a possibility that, by that very fact, cannot be calculated or predicted. This is because calculation and prediction are always part of a technē. Being subject to technē means being predictable, being calculable, being brought into view and so forth. Being otherwise cannot be this; it cannot be an otherwise subject to a calculation; it cannot be seen in advance. What this means is that being other always remains as an absolute possibility, that is, a possibility that can only be thought at the very limit of being in its resistance to technē. This thought can only take place in the violence of a resistance to technē, in the refusal of expropriation. But this refusal is not something that happens outside technē, as if beings had a resistive capacity within themselves, as part of their own internal being. Rather, it is part of the very violence of technē in its expropriation of the being of beings, in the struggle over being as that which shows itself in beings that come to be in a certain way, as beings made visible according to a certain view of things.
I have yet to read the whole paper. When I do, the question I will have on my mind is how the possibility to be otherwise squares with MH's notion of finitude.

That is, I question the author's reliance on "absolute possibility" as a valid extension of MH's ideas. One need not ground freedom on an absolute, unless one is referencing Hegel.
Our finitude is the only absolute, then.
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