Martin Heidegger on Technology, Ecology, and the Arts by Anthony Lack (auth.)

By Anthony Lack (auth.)

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By Anthony Lack (auth.)

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The world must be limited and structured in an ethical fashion and there must be a source of authority that is higher and more binding than choice, sympathy, or custom. For Heidegger, the world must be structured, indeed hierarchically ordered, if we are to have genuine ethical behavior. Hierarchy, in the sense of a fitting place, is a necessary requirement for Heidegger. The words fitting place here should be understood in terms of our relationship to others, to nature, to science, and to the holy.

Techne is the type of bringing-forth that happens when humans lend nature a hand. When the artisan coaxes the figure out of the stone, she is unlocking the stone’s potential. She is not performing an operation on it, as much as acting in concert with it. Young mentions the Socratic Method as a case of techne. Socrates, the midwife, helps to bring forth the thoughts already slumbering in the minds of his interlocutors. Socrates is the artist of the mind, helping truth to emerge into the light. The Heideggerian point is that the artist, as technician, engages in techne and brings truth into the world, letting it present itself.

Art becomes the province of connoisseurs. 1 Art becomes just one among many possible experiences, one among many possible stops in the shopping mall of modern cosmopolitan culture. When everything floats in the same ether, when everything is for sale, nothing has any value. The aesthetic experience, which begins by lifting the artwork out of its context to be appreciated as a pure object of contemplation, ends with the artwork as one among many possible experiences, none of which are more valuable than the other.

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