A Heideggerian hermeneutic phenomenology of technology and vision: towards an existential – ontological understanding of social being
Thaver, Lingham Lionel
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This thesis turns to Martin Heidegger to develop an interpretive framework to answer the question that has increasingly been thrust to the fore of 21st century society: what is the nature of the relationship between technology and society? And related to this central question is the matter of how society and social being is altered by technology and its modalities of vision? The basic argument that has been advanced to address this question revolves around the fact that in as much as we use technology as a means to serve practical ends, it displaces certain tasks and functions, which would otherwise be necessary, and thus truncates or reduces the scope of social practices in our everyday social routines. However, it does not simply end there as we illustrate that social practices encompass, to varying degrees, a different range and scope of social relationships which are instantiated in their wake. Considered together we found that these relations constitute a nexus of social connections, which we take up as the quality of sociality. The implications for our argument that sociabilities and sociality converge to produce an understanding of social being means that any technological encroachments which displace our social practices and social connectives alters our understanding of social being and thus how we understand ourselves, the world and others. We take up this theme of the displacement of our social being, sociality and sociabilities by considering two outcomes that modern technology seems to open up: equipmentality and curiosity.Firstly, as regards equipmentality we have noted that it connect us to our sociality and sociabilities and thus inures our understanding of social being, however, by contrast Heidegger finds in (idle) curiosity a second outcome that dooms us to the dystopian fate of nihilism. There is thus no fait accompli as regards modern technology’s nihilistic tendencies. This does not mean that we can be complacent about our future. But it does mean, on a positive note, that we human beings do have a responsibility to recognize technology’s efficacious ontological dimension for disclosing our being and the world.By contrast, on the negative task, our responsibility does extend to resisting modern technology’s nihilistic ontological wasteland, which does not admit objects, things or for that matter human beings, but only the flattened insubstantial being of resources as standing reserve for the technological system, bereft of sociality, humanity and an understanding of social be-ing.