‘Die Frage nach der Technik’ (1954)
[‘The Question Concerning Technology’]
An Elucidation 60 Years On
Inner Circle Seminar No. 206
Sunday 19 October 2014
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Professor Richard Rojcewicz is one of the world’s great phenomenologists. He teaches philosophy at Point Park University, Pittsburgh. He was formerly Executive Director of the Simon Silverman Phenomenology Center, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh. He has translated major works of Husserl and Merleau-Ponty, and has superbly translated or co-translated many of Heidegger’s writings unpublished during his lifetime: the lecture courses Phenomenological Interpretations of Aristotle: Initiation into Phenomenological Research, Plato’s Sophist, Basic Concepts of Ancient Philosophy, Basic Concepts of Philosophy: ‘Problems’ of ‘Logic’, and Parmenides; and the ‘ponderings’ of the 1930s, Contributions to Philosophy (Of the Event) and The Event.
Rojcewicz’s book The Gods and Technology: A Reading of Heidegger (2006) stands out as a high point in the abundant secondary literature on Heidegger’s ‘The Question Concerning Technology’ and indeed on Heidegger’s writings in general. It is based on Rojcewicz’s profoundly illuminating new translation of Heidegger’s text, which we shall study in the seminar. Even Rojcewicz’s discussion of the subtle ambiguity of the ‘nach’, inadequately translated as ‘concerning’, in Heidegger’s title ‘Die Frage nach der Technik’, is revelatory. Rojcewicz also points out, for example, that translating both ‘Gegenstand’ and ‘Objekt’ as ‘object’, as the published translation does, makes nonsense of the radical distinction Heidegger draws between what these terms connote. And Rojcewicz objects that the published translation of ‘Ge-stell’ as ‘enframing’ is ‘correct but not true...it misses the essential and is not horrible enough’.
Professor Rojcewicz writes: ‘I have come away from reading the secondary literature with the conviction that Heidegger’s writings on technology largely remain terra incognita. It is is not so much that [these] books are in error, although I do indeed not agree with any of them completely. It is more a matter of their unwillingness to engage Heidegger’s work on a fundamental level. While they all have something to say, not one of them, in my view, exhibits the close reading Heidegger deserves and repays.’
Professor Rojcewicz is providing his own, meticulous and deeply considered, still unpublished, translation as the basis for our discussion in the seminar. Your contribution will, as always, be welcome.
Incidentally, Heidegger’s philosophy of the decade 1950-60 is as pertinent as Sartre’s to understanding the context of Laing and Esterson’s Sanity, Madness and the Family to which we have devoted the first seminar of a 50th-anniversary subseries in 2014. R. D. Laing, in his 1964 lecture ‘Violence and Love’ at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, shortly before the publication of Sanity, Madness and the Family, cited – as crucial to the understanding of the spiritual fragmentation and devastation he encountered as a psychiatrist – Heidegger’s sentence from ‘The Thing’: ‘The Dreadful has already happened’.
Venue: Durrants Hotel, 26–32 George Street, Marylebone, London W1H 5BJ (http://www.durrantshotel.co.uk/)
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8888 6857 E-mail: email@example.com