Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Existential Pioneers. 19. Martin Heidegger: ‘The Question Concerning Technology’ (1954). 60 years on. Richard Rojcewicz conducts Inner Circle Seminar 206 (19 October 2014)

Martin Heidegger
Existential Pioneers
19. Martin Heidegger
‘Die Frage nach der Technik’ (1954)
[‘The Question Concerning Technology’]
An Elucidation 60 Years On

Richard Rojcewicz
Inner Circle Seminar No. 206

Richard Rojcewicz
introduced by
Anthony Stadlen
Sunday 19 October 2014
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Martin Heidegger’s essay ‘Die Frage nach der Technik’ [‘The Question Concerning Technology’] (1954) is one of his most important postwar contributions. Like  his essay ‘The Thing’, it develops the thinking of his 1947 four-part presentation to the Bremen Club, ‘Insight into that which is’.

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major works of Husserl and Merleau-Ponty, and has superbly translated or co-translated many of Heidegger’s writings unpublished during his lifetime: the lecture courses Phenomenological Interpretations of Aristotle: Initiation into Phenomenological Research, Platos Sophist, Basic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 Heideggers ‘The Question Concerning Technology’ and indeed on Heideggers writings in general. It is based on Rojcewiczs profoundly illuminating new translation of Heideggers text, which we shall study in the seminar. Even Rojcewicz’s discussion of the subtle ambiguity of the ‘nach’, inadequately translated as ‘concerning’, in Heideggers 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 misses the essential and is not horrible enough’.

Professor Rojcewicz writes: ‘I have come away from reading the secondary literature with the conviction that Heideggers 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 Heideggers 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 Estersons 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 (
Payment: Psychotherapy trainees £120, others £150, some bursaries; coffee, tea, biscuits, mineral water included; payable by 19 September 2014; no refunds or transfers unless seminar cancelled
Apply to: Anthony Stadlen, ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra Avenue, London N22 7XE
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8888 6857 E-mail:
For further information on seminars, visit:
The Inner Circle Seminars were founded by Anthony Stadlen in 1996 as an ethical, existential, phenomenological search for truth in psychotherapy. They have been kindly described by Thomas Szasz as ‘Institute for Advanced Studies in the Moral Foundations of Human Decency and Helpfulness’. But they are independent of all institutes, schools and colleges.

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