Dr. Robert Allison
What is the difference between pre-modern technology and modern technology? The windmill, one of man's oldest machines, and the modern wind turbine generate power in different ways: one catches and transforms energy while the other extracts and stocks energy into standing-reserve, something waiting for technical application. One works in accordance with nature, while the other withdraws, stores, and wills nature into supply. The danger of humanity's tendency to use technology to position things into standing-reserve, a mere resource waiting for production, is the possibility that humanity will gradually view itself as standing-reserve. People will be seen merely as inventory in a factory that can be managed and disposed of in the same way raw materials currently are. In 1954, Martin Heidegger wrote “The Question Concerning Technology,” a philosophical work that asks how humans can prepare themselves for a free relationship with technology. Arguing that the essence of technology is not technological, breaking away from its common conception as merely an instrument, Heidegger seeks out the true essence of technology. Drawing from Aristotle's theory of causation, Heidegger attempts to bring man into a proper relationship with technology: one that doesn't rebel nor condemn technology as the enemy. In this project, I aim to first account for Heidegger's understanding of the essence of technology. Then, I will explore what a free relationship to technology means and how one might practically prepare oneself for it.
Lilla, Haley, "A Free Relationship to Technology" (2022). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 519.