Highway bridges and feasts: Heidegger and Borgmann on how to affirm technology [Book Review]

Man and World 30 (2):159-178 (1997)
Abstract
Borgmann's views seem to clarify and elaborate Heidegger's. Both thinkers understand technology as a way of coping with people and things that reveals them, viz. makes them intelligible. Both thinkers also claim that technological coping could devastate not only our environment and communal ties but more importantly the historical, world-opening being that has defined Westerners since the Greeks. Both think that this devastation can be prevented by attending to the practices for coping with simple things like family meals and footbridges. But, contrary to Borgmann, Heidegger claims further that, alongside simple things, we can affirm technological things such as autobahn bridges. For Borgmann, technological coping produces things like central heating that are so dispersed they inhibit skillful interaction with them and therefore prevent our being sensitive to ourselves as world-disclosers. For Heidegger, so long as we can still relate to non-technological things, we can affirm relations with technological things because we can maintain both our technological and the non-technological ways of world-disclosing. So Borgmann sees revealing as primarily directed to things while Heidegger sees it as directed to worlds. If Heidegger is right about us, we have more leeway to save ourselves from technological devastation than Borgmann sees
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