Thinking and being: Heidegger and Wittgenstein on machination and lived-experience

Inquiry 46 (3):324 – 345 (2003)
Abstract
Heidegger's treatment of 'machination' in the Beiträge zur Philosophie begins the critique of technological thinking that would centrally characterize his later work. Unlike later discussions of technology, the critique of machination in Beiträge connects its arising to the predominance of 'lived-experience' ( Erlebnis ) as the concealed basis for the possibility of a pre-delineated, rule-based metaphysical understanding of the world. In this essay I explore this connection. The unity of machination and lived-experience becomes intelligible when both are traced to their common root in the primordial Greek attitude of techne , originally a basic attitude of wondering knowledge of nature. But with this common root revealed, the basic connection between machination and lived-experience also emerges as an important development of one of the deepest guiding thoughts of the Western philosophical tradition: the Parmenidean assertion of the sameness of being and thinking. In the Beiträge 's analysis of machination and lived-experience, Heidegger hopes to discover a way of thinking that avoids the Western tradition's constant basic assumption of self-identity, an assumption which culminates in the modern picture of the autonomous, self-identical subject aggressively set over against a pre-delineated world of objects in a relationship of mutual confrontation. In the final section, I investigate an important and illuminating parallel to Heidegger's result: the consideration of the relationship between experience and technological ways of thinking that forms the basis of the late Wittgenstein's famous rule-following considerations.
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