The “Unguarding” (Vehrwahrlosung) of Human Life in Biotechnology: Thinking Essentially with Heidegger

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Philosopher Martin Heidegger’s writing on the essence of technology has often been seen as too abstract even though he illustrated his concerns with reference to technological developments of his day. While most in the immediate post-World War 2 period judged thermonuclear weaponry to be the most obvious technological threat to the future of humanity, Heidegger instead considered developments in the biological sciences to be more so. In the discussion presented here, Heidegger’s thinking is related to developments in biotechnology, specifically assisted reproductive technology. The task here is (1) to illustrate how Heidegger’s disquiet is manifested in such technologies and (2) to emphasize the significance of his call for a “step back” from the calculative thinking dominant in the natural sciences to what he called, alternately, “essential,” “meditative,” or “commemorative” thinking. Only through this latter mode of thinking can we expect to enter into a “free” relationship to technology.
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Archival date: 2021-05-27
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