The Challenge of Heidegger’s Approach to Technology: A Phenomenological Reading

Steven Crowell

Of all the writings Heidegger published after Being and Time, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1950) is certainly one of the most widely taught and discussed. It is not hard to understand why. Since 1950, our dependence on technical devices and the environmental consequences of technological manipulation of nature have only become more oppressive, and Heidegger’s way with words provides an intuitively powerful emblem of the uneasiness we feel. All the same, the text belongs to a cluster of writings (“Das Ding”, “Einblick in das was ist”, “Gelassenheit”) that must be counted among Heidegger’s most obscure. How does a reader gain critical access to such texts so as to assess what Heidegger says about technology and the possibility of establishing a free relation to it? What is the appropriate attitude for taking the measure of a thinking that shuns traditional measures while claiming to hold itself to a standard that has been concealed since the time of Parmenides? This is the challenge of Heidegger’s approach to technology.

I will address this challenge here by identifying two strands of Heidegger’s approach: a phenomenological strand which offers important insight into what thinking is responsible for now, and an historical strand which contextualizes that phenomenology in a “history of Being [Seyn],” according to which philosophy as such, “metaphysics,” entails nihilism. I will argue that the phenomenology of thinking is independent of this historical thesis and should be preserved, while the latter is a distraction. The argument is organized into three sections: Phenomenology, the Danger, and Gelassenheit.

1. Phenomenology

From first to last, Heidegger’s thinking remained tied to a kind of phenomenology, and it is in Heidegger’s phenomenological practice that we find what we need: an approach to his writings that permits an immanent critique. Because Heidegger proceeds as though the measure of his thinking were phenomenological, if we in turn practice phenomenology we should be able to assess which of his claims succeed by that measure, and which do not. If this is no simple matter—because what Heidegger understands by “phenomenology” is not easy to discern—it is not impossible either, and I’ll make a stab at it here.

In the “principle of all principles,” Husserl (1982, 44) expressed his conviction that genuine knowledge requires “intuition”: all soundness in argumentation ultimately goes back to the intuitive grasp, the living presence or givenness, of the things themselves at issue in the argument. Judgments are empty but can be fulfilled by the perception—broadly, the experience—of what is judged. Where such intuitive givenness is impossible, one should suspend judgment. For Husserl, then, phenomenology is a philosophical approach that embraces the priority of intuition over argumentation. Through a series of reductions, it investigates the ways in which not things, but the givenness of things, their “meaning and validity,” is “constituted” in consciousness (a clear statement of the project can be found in Husserl 1989, 405–430). Such constitution has nothing to do with causality and empirical origin. Philosophy is not concerned to establish the properties of entities, as though it were an empirical science; rather, it looks to the “transcendental” correlation that is already there whenever science inquiries into entities. For Husserl, this means that phenomenology investigates intentionality, the normatively ordered field of experience in which anything at all, including ourselves, can be there for us as something. As a reflective-intuitive concern with meaning (Sinn), transcendental phenomenology pursues something that remains inconspicuous or unapparent in the everyday or “natural” attitude. Paradoxically, then, the “phenomena” of phenomenological philosophy are not the things that appear but the inconspicuous conditions that make such appearing possible (on this point see Günter Figal 2015; see also von Herrmann 1988).

The later Heidegger, too, suggests that phenomenology attends to “the unapparent,” das Unscheinbare (Heidegger 2011/12, 73; FS 79–80), but this is not new; it is already his view in Being and Time. Phenomenology names a method, not what the method makes available (BT 27 / 50). It involves a logos—a discursive “letting something be seen”—but phenomenological discourse points out “something that proximally and for the most part does not show itself at all” and is therefore in need of pointing out, something that belongs “so essentially” to what does show itself “as to constitute its meaning and its ground” (BT 35 / 59). If “phenomena” in the ordinary sense are the entities that show up in our experience, the “phenomenological sense of ‘phenomenon’ ” is the “Being of entities, its meaning” (BT 35/60), the initially unapparent condition thanks to which entities can show up as the entities they in truth are (on the relation between meaning and “being in the sense of truth” (ὄν ὡς ἀληθής), see Crowell 2001). Meaning is not an entity; it is “the formal-existential framework of the disclosedness which belongs to understanding” (BT 151 / 193). For this reason, the phenomenology of Being and Time begins by elucidating Dasein as “understanding of being.” The ontological difference is originally the phenomenological difference between entities and what it means for them to be, and phenomenology makes this difference explicit.1

In Heidegger’s late work the phenomenological commitment to intuition—in the broad sense of experiental “access” to the things themselves—before argument is everywhere apparent. Despite having abandoned the transcendental language of Being and Time, Heidegger retains the demand that our thinking be attuned to the experience of what is initially hidden, that we undergo that about which we speak so that our speaking can be assessed by the measure appropriate to it. Although, by the 1940s, this commitment is situated within a historical thesis about philosophy. In a text from a proposed Introduction to his Gesamtausgabe, for instance, Heidegger recalls his early engagement with phenomenology:

With the help of the VI. Logical Investigation, I sought to experience the thinking of the Greeks in a Greek way and out of this experience to grasp Husserl’s phenomenology, and indeed metaphysics as such, first of all in its historicality. Husserl had no idea how Greek his thinking was, which made his connection with reductionism a detour.

(Heidegger 2011/12, 95)2

A critical approach to Heidegger’s reflections on technology must pay particular attention to this implicit equation between “Husserl’s phenomenology” and “metaphysics as such,” mediated by the concept of “historicality.” For here Heidegger alludes to his “step back” from the history of metaphysics as nihilism, from “philosophy,” in favor of an “other” beginning, in which the detour of phenomenological reductionism is replaced by what he calls “tautological” thinking.

Tautological phenomenology prepares us for an Einblick in das was ist. Einblick is that glimpse of the matter granted by the chance (Zufall) lightning flash (Blitz) illuminating what is otherwise unapparent (GA 79: 74–75). The “matter,” here, is “what is,” which Heidegger names with reference to Parmenides’ ἔστι γὰρ εἶναι (“being is”) (FS 79). This seeming tautology is not empty, however, because it arises from an experience of the ontological difference: “what is” is not this or that entity (Seiendes) but being (Sein). This seems to repeat what Being and Time already said: the “phenomenon” of phenomenology is the “being” that is tacitly “understood” in everyday experience, the meaning that is there only with Dasein and conditions entities without making them dependent on Dasein.3 Yet it is no mere repetition, because tautological phenomenology arises from a self-criticism based on the “historicality” that Heidegger discovered in philosophy or “metaphysics as such.” If tautological phenomenology facilitates a step back from that historicality, however, it also entangles Heidegger’s phenomenology of thinking in a contentious thesis about the history of philosophy.

That thesis holds that metaphysics—the sort of thinking inaugurated by Plato, in which being is conceived “logically” as Idea, and the thinker’s task is understood, with Aristotle, as making true assertions about it (λόγος ἀποφαντικός)—is the history of nihilism. Metaphysics trades attention to the unapparent (variously termed Seyn, Lichtung, or Ereignis) for the clarity of the concept: Sein is reduced to Seiendheit, the “is-ness” or “beingness” of beings, determined as what-being (essentia) and that-being (existentia). In thinking the beingness of beings, however, metaphysics overlooks the experience from which it lives—ἔστι γὰρ εἶναι—the arche, “clearing of presence [Lichtung von Anwesen]” (Heidegger 2011/12, 96).

Heidegger’s tautological phenomenology thus differs from his earlier phenomenology in a fateful way, one that frames the technology essay and establishes the parameters of what a “free relation” to technology can be (QT 3). Ensconced within a “history of Being” (Seinsgeschichte) that closes the book on “philosophy,” phenomenology can facilitate a free relation only through an “other” beginning. Responding to modern technology—the ontic face of metaphysical nihilism—requires abandoning philosophy in favor of an attitude, Gelassenheit, that “waits” for the unapparent without “expecting” or anticipating its features. We thereby remain free for the address of another measure of thinking, one that lets things be—not as they are “in themselves,” but as they are “for themselves” (GA 77: 139).

How is such a history of being to be understood? Can it too be assessed phenomenologically? In the essay on technology, these questions become pressing when Heidegger discusses the danger (die Gefahr), a discussion which contains the phenomenological core of Heidegger’s concern with technology. That core consists in a phenomenology of normative orientation, one that derives from Being and Time and gains pathos from Heidegger’s historical thesis about metaphysics as nihilism. In turning to the danger, I will argue that the phenomenology is separable from the pathos. This clears the way for seeing how Heidegger’s phenomenology of thinking as Gelassenheit—his response to calculative, technological thinking—can stand on its own.

2. The Danger

In the usual “instrumental and anthropological definition,” technology is a tool deployed by human beings. According to Heidegger, however, while this definition is “correct,” it fails to attain the “true” (QT 4–6). What is the “true,” and how does it pertain to what Heidegger calls the “essence” of modern technology? If we approach these questions phenomenologically—that is, not as questions about things but about the meaning of things—then to say that the essence of technology “prevails outside the sphere of ends and means” is to say that it is “the hidden basic trait [Grundzug] of the reality of all that is currently real” (GA 79: 62). What do the “signs of the times” (GA 79: 56)—our proliferating dependence on technical devices and the ubiquitous technological manipulation of nature and culture—tell us about our relation to beings as a whole, the inconspicuous meaning of all that is “currently real”?

This question might give us pause. Is there a way that “beings as a whole” concern us? If there is, we must somehow distinguish between two dimensions of intelligibility in our engagement with things: a “surface” dimension in which our everyday practices and discourses disclose the properties of and relations among things, and a “depth” dimension in which such things, properties, and relations are understood in terms of a meaning that prevails throughout the whole. Being and Time hints at something like these two dimensions in its attempt to move from the various meanings of being disclosed in our practices—the occurrent, the available, Existenz, and so on—to “the” meaning of being, to “time” as the ultimate horizon of intelligibility.4 In the later work, this depth dimension is called the “presencing” (Anwesen) of what is present, that which “holds sway” or “essences” (waltet, west) in everything that shows up as something. We do experience such presencing—it is the way things matter to us5—but it is inconspicuous and so in need of phenomenological elucidation. And it is also historical.

For instance, neither the medieval peasant nor the monk in the cloister had trouble discerning the different characteristics and properties of plant, animal, person, and stone, of artifacts and organisms, and so on. Then as now, practices disclosed things as something, allowing for correct identification, determination, and judgment. At the same time, the presencing of all such things was understood—in Heidegger’s sense, “experienced”—as ens creatum. Such an understanding prescribes an attitude toward what is as a whole that maintains a normative dignity for things in the face of human striving. The Adam who is granted lordship over all created things is also the Adam who is enjoined to tend and preserve those same things. Today we experience things otherwise. We are perfectly capable of correctly recognizing differences among things and their properties—we know the difference between the Rhine and a hydro-electric plant, for instance (QT 16), or between “mechanized agriculture” and the “fabrication of corpses” in the “extermination camps” (GA 79: 27)—but, according to Heidegger, all such things “presence” in the same inconspicuous way, one evident in our behavior toward them: we do not experience the things around us as ens creatum, but as Bestand, “standing reserve” (QT 17).6

What remains obscure in this picture, however, is how to account for a depth dimension of intelligibility that is not merely a more general form of everyday practical intelligibility. For Heidegger, what we ordinarily call historical “explanation” will not suffice here: the medieval person did not experience the whole of what is as ens creatum since medieval Europe was pervaded by the Biblical creation story; nor, on Heidegger’s account, do we experience what is as standing reserve, because mathematical natural science has eliminated values and secondary qualities from the real. Rather, such a science is itself made possible by an experience of things as standing reserve (QT 21–23).7 If we are to account for the two dimensions of intelligibility, then, we need a phenomenological clarification of how we can experience something as something at all, and this, in turn, requires a detour through Being and Time.

According to that text, something can show up as it is only where it is also possible for it to show up as it is not—that is, in a normatively structured context where some measure of what it is supposed to be is in play. Though scientific theory and practice provides one such context (BT §69b), science is a methodologically developed version of a much more ubiquitous context: the various uses to which things are put. The hammer shows itself as a hammer when it is put to use in building something (techne), and its various properties show up as suitable or unsuitable in light of the work to be accomplished. But this work is itself an entity (ergon) and can show up as it is only in light of its place in the context. Thus, a thing’s meaning cannot be sufficiently determined with reference to instrumentality alone; its ground lies in our ability to act (praxis) “for the sake of some possibility of [our] being” (BT 84 / 116). It is only in such acting, trying to be something, that meaning (as opposed to causality, instrumentality, or affective motivation) shows up. Strictly speaking, then, “only Dasein can be meaningful or meaningless” (BT 151 / 193), because Dasein is the being for whom what it means to be is always at issue (BT 84 / 116–117)—that is, a being who cares about whether it succeeds or fails at what it is trying to be. Care introduces a normative orientation into our experience of what is. In this distinction between the intelligibility of things that show up in my engagement with them and the intelligibility that is at issue in my acting for the sake of something we find the precursor of our two dimensions of intelligibility.

What Heidegger calls “understanding” is acting for the sake of being something. In On the Essence of Ground he links understanding (now called “trasncendence”) to Plato’s ἰδέα τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ (PM 124), both because this indicates understanding’s normative orientation, and because such orientation goes “beyond beings as a whole” (ἐπέκεινα τῆς οὐσίας) toward what is not “in being,” i.e., toward what is best. This entails precisely that I do not know what the Good is: to pass beyond beings toward what is best is to have regard to a measure whose meaning is ever at issue in what I am trying to be. Such orientation can be accomplished either authentically, when I acknowledge responsibility for the normative force of the measure as I understand it, or inauthentically, when my ungrounded responsibility is concealed by a tendency to equate that measure with socially prevalent “values” which can be deployed in a kind of “technical” way, as recipes for behavior.

For example, we have names for things like students, teachers, lesson-plans, chalkboards, grades, and graduations; such things are familiar to us. But names gain their signification only because the things so named can show up, in a “totality of significance” or “world” of teaching, as succeeding or failing at being what they are supposed to be in that world. Such showing up does not exhaust what things are, but it does uncover what they are; their significance is not “projected onto” them. Nevertheless, the world of teaching is tied to my acting for the sake of being a teacher. It is only because I am trying to be a teacher—that is, allow myself to be bound by (what I take to be) the meaning of teaching—that I can encounter things as meaningful, as succeeding or failing at what they are supposed to be.

Returning now to the two dimensions of intelligibility, we may think of the various “worlds” disclosed in my trying to be something (father, teacher, carpenter, citizen) as contexts of meaning in which the ordinary names for things enable us to make correct statements about them and become practiced in recognizing their properties and relations. What later Heidegger adds to this picture is the idea that, in addition to these various worlds, there is also a way in which things as a whole are experienced, a meaning that pervades all such worlds. If the analysis of meaning in Being and Time is phenomenologically well-grounded, then such “prevailing” meaning must also be correlated with Dasein’s being an issue for itself, because only “care” can have meaning in view. Because a depth dimension of meaning would prevail throughout the whole, however, what is at issue cannot be restricted to some particular role or possibility for the sake of which I act; rather, it must belong to everything that I can try to be. The later Heidegger names this pervasive ability thinking (e.g., GA 77: 106). As did Descartes, if in a different way and for very different reasons, Heidegger understands Dasein as a “thinking thing.” Thinking—which itself can succeed or fail—is the “correlate” of the depth dimension of meaning.

It is “thinking” in this sense that “explains” the difference between experiencing things as ens creatum and as standing reserve. As ens creatum, the thing’s presence is undergone as bestowed, and so as fixed—perhaps “for the sake of” something. As standing reserve, however, things and their properties are not experienced as bestowed, such that we are required to respect them in our behavior; rather, they are mere “pictures” (Bilder) “for us”—which is another way of saying that, in themselves, things do not matter. What matters, what counts as the being of things, is instead their fungibility, their ability to be “unlocked” as sources of energy, which is “stored up” and “distributed,” “switched about ever anew” (QT 16). Because the phenomenologically discernable contours of things no longer tell us anything about their being, standing reserve “no longer stands over against us as object” (QT 17). No matter how things show up in our dealings with them as teachers, parents, or carpenters, their presencing has been drained of meaning, and we experience them as Bestand-stücke (GA 79: 36). This is nihilism, the “Verwahrlosung of the thing as thing” (GA 79: 47).

If such an experience goes back to Dasein’s ability to “think,” then nihilism, “bereaving things of truth,” belongs with what Heidegger calls “calculative” thinking (G 12). Calculative thinking replaces things with functions, names with variables, in order to follow a path of its own construction. With such thinking entrenched, it is the function that counts, not the thing. Things are Gleich-giltig, indifferently valid (GA 79: 52); individually they count for nothing. Their ordinary names remain, of course, and with them we are still fully capable of correctly marking distinctions in practice and discerning their “value.” But all this has the air of the human, all-too-human, and we behave toward them as though what really is (ἔστι γὰρ εἶναι) lacks all meaning.

If in our time the inconspicuous depth dimension of meaning yields an experience of things as standing reserve, Heidegger sees this as a failure of thinking. In contrast to Being and Time, however, Heidegger no longer locates this failure in Dasein’s inauthentic self-understanding. Rather, it is explained by an historical narrative of epochal “sendings” or “destinings” (QT 24), in which a prevailing experience of what is “granted” (QT 31) to thinkers—that is, to all of us. Calculative thinking, “whether it uses numbers or not” (G 12), is our response to a “destining” which “starts [us] on a way of revealing” (QT 26). The “origin” of such destinings is not named in the technology essay—unless “the mystery” is a name (QT 25)—but elsewhere Heidegger attributes them to Seyn. Modes of revealing are responses to sendings of Seyn, where the genitive is somehow both subjective and objective. Can any phenomenological evidence be marshaled for such a narrative?8 A positive answer, of sorts, emerges from Heidegger’s emphatic claim that Seyn is danger itself: “Das Seyn ist in sich aus sich für sich die Gefahr schlechthin” (GA 79: 54).

Discussions of the “danger” of technology tend to center on obvious calamities: nuclear winter, global warming, devastation of the environment, genetically manipulated organisms going rogue, the “singularity” in which we become servants of artificially intelligent machines, and so on. There is certainly nothing trivial about such dangers, and Heidegger’s essay bears on them in important ways. However, this is not what he means by “the supreme danger.” The latter does not arise from the use of technologies but from the essence of modern technology, the destining of revealing he calls enframing (Ge-stell). Further, if a “destining of revealing is in itself not just any danger, but danger as such,” then “when destining reigns in the mode of enframing it is the supreme danger” (QT 26). Why is a destining of revealing danger “as such”? And why is enframing the “supreme” danger?

“Happening of revealing” is Heidegger’s term for “truth” (QT 25)—not “correctness” but the opening of a depth dimension of meaning that enables an experience of what things as a whole count for. Enframing is one such opening: roughly, the way of experiencing things that prevails in the modern period and achieves philosophical articulation in Leibniz and Nietzsche. There have been others—for instance, the medieval world in which an experience of things as ens creatum prevailed. Can phenomenological sense be made of the claim that such modes of revealing are somehow destined or sent?

In one sense, yes: if there is a depth dimension of meaning, a way that things as a whole, including ourselves, matter to us, then we cannot simply decide to see things differently, to experience the world any way we like. As Heidegger puts it: “Always the destining of revealing holds complete sway” over us (QT 25). The depth dimension is simply there, something we inherit. On the other hand, because revealing concerns meaning, what we inherit is always at issue; the “destining” of such revealing “is never a fate that compels”; rather, the opening is a space of free play (Spielraum) or freedom. The human being “becomes truly free only insofar as he belongs to the realm of destining and so becomes one who listens and hears, and not one who is simply constrained to obey” (QT 25).

So if standing reserve is the way things presence today, this is because the world itself is enframing, a mode of revealing; “the world and enframing are the Same” (GA 79: 52). Now enframing—a term that gathers various forms of positing, placing, and ordering—is not something that just happens, like combustion on a distant star. Phenomenologically, it is a kind challenging (Herausfordern) (QT 14); that is, it is something that cannot be what it is without an addressee. A challenge is a dare or claim or demand, and as such it requires an uptake which is not necessitated or compelled; it addresses freedom and so calls for a response that can succeed or fail the matter at issue. To understand what it means to say that a destining of revealing is danger as such, then, we must reflect on what sort of success or failure is possible here.

At the surface level of intelligibility, revealing is accomplished in practices supported by the various ways we can try to be something (parent, teacher, friend). The various measures at issue in such “worlds” allow things to show up in light of what they are supposed to be. However, as opening a depth dimension of meaning, revealing pervades all these various worlds in such a way that we are “continually approaching the brink of the possibility of pursuing and pushing forward nothing but what is revealed” according to the measure of what is destined, and so of “deriving all [our] standards on this basis” (QT 26). For instance, “where everything that presences exhibits itself in the light of a cause-effect,” then the differences between tools, students, friends—and “even God”— seem superficial (QT 26). And this sort of “danger” belongs to revealing “in every one of its modes” (QT 26). Correlated with thinking as that which belongs to all trying to be, a mode of revealing puts a measure into play that does not exhaust the things it measures. But having such a measure—experiencing the world pervasively in its light—tends to conceal the fact that the measure is at issue in what I do, that what it calls for may not be appropriate to the matters at hand, that it is not the only possible one. As Denis McManus aptly writes in his recent book Heidegger and the Measure of Truth:

There is nothing wrong with this ‘narrowing of focus’ as long as those measures are recognized as such: one might say they reveal what they reveal. But problems arise when they are not recognized, and neither is the need to evaluate what they do, and can, reveal by reference to what we think needs—overall—to be revealed.

(McManus 2012, 217)

In Being and Time this sort of threat is attributed to Dasein’s “fallenness,” where the very possibility of authenticity is concealed from Dasein, and where the break down of everydayness in Angst is required if Dasein is to recollect its responsibility for meaning. In Heidegger’s later work this phenomenon is reconfigured as thinking’s “errancy” (Irre), our ability to “stray from [our] essence” (GA 79: 54). We stray from our essence when we respond to the claim that a destining of revealing addresses to us not as something at issue in what we do, but simply as the way things are. To say that a destining of revealing is “danger as such,” then, means both that it tends to conceal itself as one mode of revealing and also that it demands an uptake—the risk of trying to be something in its light— whose success conditions are not given but at stake. It is the danger of responsibility, a commitment that cannot be rationally grounded since it grounds rationality (See Crowell 2013). Still, because errancy is not necessitated, any destining leaves open the possibility that we can “experience as [our] essence [our] needed belonging to revealing” (QT 26). Danger “as such,” then, names the challenge of our “essence,” thinking, as orientation toward the normative. Here the second part of Heidegger’s claim—namely, that enframing is not just danger, like all destinings of revealing, but the supreme danger—becomes an issue. What makes it so?

Enframing frames things as standing reserve. One of those things is the human being. It is not that we don’t recognize differences between human beings, machines, and “lifeless nature” or whatever; rather, it is that we act in such a way that those differences finally do not matter.9 This entangles us in a contradictory self-understanding which spans the two dimensions of intelligibility. On the one hand, calculative thinking, our commitment to the norm that only what we can measure is real, positions us as “lord of the earth” (QT 27). On the other hand, this self-understanding remains oblivious to the inconspicuous essence of what allows us to take such a stand, namely, our having been claimed by a measure that itself remains at issue in what we do. For Heidegger, “thinking” is our way of responding to such a claim; it is Besinnung, “admitting oneself into meaning [sich auf den Sinn einlassen]” (QT 180). Because calculative thinking conceals this essence of thinking, it is the “supreme” danger. The human being stands so decisively in attendance of the challenging-forth of enframing that he does not apprehend enframing as a claim, that he fails to see himself as the one spoken to, and hence also fails in every way to hear in what respect he ek-sists, from out of his essence, in the realm of an exhortation and address (QT 27).

In this way, “we ourselves”—the lords of the earth—“will have to become taken as standing reserve,” human resources (QT 27).

So far we have proceeded phenomenologically, interpreting “destining of revealing” as a way of talking about how Dasein can experience things as meaningful at all. Meaning, the unapparent depth dimension, can be only in a mode of revealing, and such modes “need” thinking, our response to a normative claim that we inherit and cannot simply ignore. Any such mode of revealing is danger as such because it “conceals itself” (QT 25) as a mode of revealing, i.e., presents itself simply as the way things are. Enframing is the “supreme” danger because it conceals itself in a particularly persistent way: it effaces meaning altogether by eliminating the normative from the true in its substitution of calculation for an orientation toward what is best (to agathon). But here we must ask whether this phenomenology also supports the historical thesis of a “history of being,” according to which destining is understood “epochally” as a sending or granting of the depth dimension of meaning by Seyn.

The significance of Heidegger’s remark about the “historicality” of “Husserl’s phenomenology and indeed of metaphysics as such” lies here, because he seems to hold that a free relation to technology requires gathering the whole of Western thought—including the sort of phenomenology practiced in Being and Time—into a single chapter. Only so can we remain open for the “saving power” (das Rettende)—the “granting that sends in one way or another into revealing” (QT 32)—which is said to “grow” together with the danger. Only by thinking this “closure” of philosophy as nihilism, it seems, can we get sufficient distance from calculative thinking to open ourselves to the claim of another measure, to which thinking might respond otherwise than through the resources of “metaphysics.”

According to the “history of being,” if “the essence of errancy rests in the essence of Seyn as danger” (GA 79: 54), this no longer means only that thinking, thanks to its normative orientation, is always in danger of taking meaning as a given rather than something at issue. Rather, danger is now narratively specified as the errancy of philosophy as such, “metaphysics,” the Platonic-Aristotelian reduction of being (ἔστι γὰρ εἶναι) to the being of entities (Seiendheit)—τὸ εἶδος, look, representation. “Philosophy” names the history whereby its own origin in the sending or granting “of” Seyn is concealed. How are we to assess this historical narrative? On the one hand, it has the appearance of a speculative construction. Seyn seems to name a “power,” a “sender” that withholds and grants. On the other hand, the various epochs of being do not unfold “dialectically” or necessarily; errancy is not a “fate that compels,” but a matter of freedom. This suggests that the whole point of Heidegger’s totalizing narrative consists in being a vehicle for addressing nihilism as the Verwahrlosung of things, opening us to the possibility of responding appropriately to the originary claim or call of Seyn.

If that is so, then we should not treat Seynsgeschichte as a deep truth about history; rather, it seems to serve the “pragmatic” role that David Carr (2014, 83–91) has recently identified in the tradition of speculative philosophy of history: it is a story that is meant to guide praxis. The closure of metaphysics, then, would not be an historical thesis but a hortatory discourse, calling us back to a situation of decision (“freedom”) whose “danger” is ever-present. Indeed, in the Black Notebooks from 1931 to 1938 Heidegger characterizes his “historical” lecture courses in such pedagogical terms: the lectures are “historial reflections [geschichtliche Besinnungen]” not “historical accounts of what is past [historische Betrachtungen des Vergangenen].” As such they are “historically false but historially true.” This latter sort of truth is what brings “the futural in what has been into the light of day”—not as an “object for historical reckoning,” but “as a task for us” (GA 94: 358). If this interpretation can be maintained, then we are freed, as Carr (2014, 129) observes, from the specter of an “event” or agent who sends and grants, and the phenomenology of the “danger” can be divorced from the historical thesis.

There are many passages in Heidegger’s later work that tell against such an interpretation, and I cannot really quarrel with those who argue that it does not capture everything Heidegger wanted to say. After all, if “only a god can save us,” then we do seem to admit at least some relation between the “saving power” and an agency. All the same, if one is suspicious of such historical narratives, our phenomenological reading points the way to a less contentious uptake of the later Heidegger.10 Heidegger gives us some encouragement in a passage from the Black Notebooks of 1942–1948, where he writes:

Im Ereignis geschieht nichts. Hier ist kein Geschehen mehr; auch kein Geschick; denn auch Schickung west noch aus dem Gegenüber. Im Ereignis ist das Wesen der Geschichte verlassen. Die Rede von der Seynsgeschichte ist eine Verlegenheit und ein Euphemismus.
In the event [Ereignis] nothing happens. Here there is no longer any happening, nor any destining [Geschick]; for all sending [Schickung] still prevails from the correlation. In the event the essence of history is abandoned. Talk of the history of being is an embarrassment and a euphemism. Translation expanded.

(GA 97: 382)

Nevertheless, this passage takes away with one hand what it gives with another, because it seems to deny something that is essential to any phenomenological account. For in rejecting the idea of sending (Schickung) because it “still prevails from the correlation [Gegenüber],” Heidegger seems to want to deny the correlation between address and addressee upon which a phenomenological account depends. And so, if “the granting which sends in one way or another into revealing is as such the saving power” (QT 32), we seem forced to abandon phenomenology in order to respond appropriately to it.

I do not think this follows, and to support my claim I will examine the hints of an “other” beginning found in Heidegger’s reflections on thinking as Gelassenheit. Initially, this notion seems to stand in utter contrast to what we have emphasized as the correlation between meaning and Dasein’s being an issue for itself in acting for the sake of something. However, if we can find the footprint of Umwillen in Gelassenheit itself—as I will argue we can—then the prospects for a phenomenological reading of the later Heidegger which dispenses with Seinsgeschichte—not because it still thinks in terms of correlation but because it is merely a pedagogical device—become brighter.

3. Gelassenheit

To make the case, I will draw primarily from Feldweg-Gespräche, and specifically from the “Conversation” between a researcher, a scholar, and a guide (Weiser). Although the dialogical form here is not without significance, it should be remembered that it is “invented” (erdachte), a product of Heidegger’s own project as a writer. What is he after? By engaging with investigative practices (science, philology) that stand in close proximity to thinking but in various ways appear to conceal its essence, Heidegger wants to facilitate our “experiencing the origin of the essence of thinking” (GA 77: 65). Thus, the Conversation is a representation of a conversation, and what it gives to understand, its “meaning,” derives from Heidegger’s own trying to be something: a thinker. That this trying will initially be represented as paradoxical should not blind us to its essential role.

If thinking is the essence of the human being, then technology, as calculative thinking, is a specific modification of that essence, a specific possibility for it. The guide calls this modification Vernichtung (GA 77: 18)—not the destruction (Zerstörung) but the “nullification” of that essence, a kind of suicide.11 As we saw, calculation nullifies thinking’s milieu, meaning, and with it the possibility that things can show up as they are “for themselves” (GA 77: 139). But calculation is only the latest incarnation of what Heidegger calls “representational” thinking, or metaphysics, the biography of the human being as animale rationale. The guide suggests that this definition arose neither as an answer to a question, nor from “biological” experience (GA 77: 102), but as thinking’s response (Gegen-wort) to experiencing a claim or Wort addressed to it (GA 77: 25). In the nullification of the essence of thinking by our current mode of thinking, Heidegger espies the saving power, namely, the possibility that thinking will be reborn through “hearing” that word of address again and responding with a different Gegen-wort (GA 77: 57). If the guide eventually defines “the essence of thinking” as “the indwelling [inständige] releasement [Gelassenheit] to the worlding of world” (GA 77: 151), our question becomes: how is thinking in this sense, as the essence of the human being, related to the phenomenological definition of that essence as care, i.e., as the disclosure of world?

Heidegger’s definition comes at the end of a winding path, along which a certain answer to this question has been given: the disclosure of world, as presented in Being and Time, is said to remain caught in representational thinking, thereby failing to recognize the “worlding” of world (GA 77: 24). In Being and Time the world disclosed through Dasein’s “transcendence” is an openness or clearing in which things show up as something, but this openness is conceived as an “horizon” in the transcendental-phenomenological sense. The guide now rejects this approach, because “horizon and transcendence are experienced from the objects and from our representing and are determined solely with an eye toward the objects and our representing” (GA 77: 111). Thus, the horizon is “only the side that is turned toward us of an Open that surrounds us,” a side that is “filled in with the anticipation [Aussicht] of the look [Ansicht] of what appears to our representing as object” (GA 77: 112). The phenomenology of Being and Time, then, cannot think the Open “for itself,” and so can think things only as objects.

To think things “for themselves” we must, it seems, find a way to experience things not in relation to the human being but in relation to the Open, as “what belongs in it” (GA 77: 128).12 What might that mean? In the normative notion of “belonging” (being “proper to”) we find a pathmark. In Being and Time all such normativity goes back to care, Dasein’s being an issue for itself. If we are to think things as “belonging” to the Open, then, how are we to account for the normativity of that belonging? If thinking things in relation to the human being is the fatal flaw of representational thinking, it seems that a key part of the phenomenological project of Being and Time—the correlation between world-disclosure (meaning) and care (trying to be something)—must be abandoned. Jumping to such a conclusion, however, would be a mistake.

First, Heidegger does not deny that the “worlding” of world involves some “relation” to the human being, but only that it is not the relation of “representation.” Gelassenheit itself, as we shall see, is a “composure” (Verhaltenheit) that waits for an address, and responding in an appropriate way to that address is necessary for worlding. What seems to block any connection between Gelassenheit and care is the idea that care is determined as “transcendence”—as horizon-building, or Weltbildung—and so as representational thinking. But is this assimilation of the phenomenological concept of horizon to representational thinking really convincing? One might equally see in it Heidegger’s pedagogical effort to shoe-horn the phenomenology of care into his narrative of the history of being, an effort that requires him to overlook an essential difference between care and the aspect of representation that gives rise to nihilism.

What is it about representational thinking that is so fatal to things? Why is metaphysics nihilism? Heidegger’s story centers on Leibniz and Kant, for whom the thing’s presencing is reduced to a function of the subject’s synthetic activity. In Leibniz, the essence of the subject is representatio as the unity of perceptio and appetitus (GA 77: 53, 97–98); in Kant, Vorstellung is grounded in “the productivity of transcendental imagination” (GA 77: 101). In this sense, transcendental philosophy does focus entirely on “the face things turn toward us,” but this analysis does not hold without qualification for the phenomenological concept of horizon.

Heidegger is right that the phenomenological horizon is centered on us, but it is not an anthropological concept in the sense deriving from Leibniz, Kant, and Nietzsche; things are not reducible to what “faces us,” our “perspective” on things and their “look” from such a perspective. Instead, for Husserl—no less than for Heidegger—the horizon is defined “regionally” as a topography of proximity and distance, presence and absence;13 it is not merely what faces us but what surrounds us, “outside” our field of vision, behind our heads as it were.14 Nor, therefore, is the presencing of things reduced to how they are represented in our plans, goals, or intentions. If there is a problem with representational thinking, then, it is not phenomenology’s problem, and if the objection to the concept of horizon is that it supposedly stands over against us—is “only the side that is turned toward us of an Open that surrounds us” (GA 77: 112)—this objection does not touch the phenomenological horizon, because it too “surrounds” us. But perhaps it is the phenomenological horizon’s being centered on us that makes it unsuitable for capturing what Heidegger is after. Exploring this suggestion gets us to the heart of the matter.

Heidegger is trying to get us to experience the world as it is “for itself,” its worlding, without referring it to the subject’s perspective, defined by Leibniz as striving perception; that is, as Wille (GA 77: 53). To think the world as horizon, it seems, is to think it solely with reference to willing, to our plans and goals, and so to think things exclusively as ends or as means to ends. Being and Time famously begins with an analysis of the “ready-to-hand” and so seems to belong to this Leibnizian tradition. But there is more to the story. Whereas techne (the Um-zu) does represent an end to be brought about (ergon), which thus stands Gegenüber the representing subject and allows things to show up only as suitable or unsuitable for achieving such an end, the whole analysis is grounded in care—Dasein’s acting for the sake of being something (Umwillen)—and such acting does not “represent” anything.

Trying to be a father, or teacher, or friend is not a matter of imagining a future outcome that is to be brought about in my acting; rather, it is to commit myself to a meaning (what it is to be a good father or friend) that remains at stake—“indeterminate” or in question—at every moment, a measure that provides no recipe for what to do. Here the metaphor of a “path” suggests itself: a path has a direction (Sinn-richtung) and so is not a ramble, but nor is it measured by a goal. We can say that in trying to be a father, caring about being one, I “think” that it is better to act in one way rather than another, but such thinking does not represent to itself alternative ends to be achieved.15 Instead, one follows a path, feels one’s way along—or “judges,” somewhat in the sense of Kant’s “aesthetic” judgment—with a “sense of direction,” thereby “admitting oneself into meaning [sich auf den Sinn einlassen].” If this is so, our question becomes: can Heidegger’s attempt to characterize thinking (the “essence of the human being”) in a non-transcendental way dispense with this structure of care, “centered” on our trying to be something?16

The first thing to note is that Heidegger’s attempt to overcome representational thinking does not abandon correlationism, as though Seyn or Ereignis were just a Heideggerian way of talking about the physicalist’s Big Bang. Heidegger is quite clear about this: “das Seyn braucht den Menschen” (GA 65: 261), the worlding of world requires the thinking being (GA 77: 147). But one might wonder whether Heidegger’s late notion of thinking as the “indwelling releasement to the worlding of world” retains the feature of the care-structure that, as we have seen, is the phenomenological ground of meaning—namely, trying to be (Worumwillen). Is the “relation to the essence of the human being” that allows the Open “to be as it is [wesen . . . wie es west]” (GA 77: 146), a relation that involves my being at issue in trying to be a thinker?

At first, Heidegger appears to take aim precisely at this aspect of his earlier view. After discussing the inadequacies of science as a model for thinking, the researcher and the scholar are perplexed about just what it is that their guide “really wants” in going along this conversational path. Forced to answer directly, the guide says: “What I really want [will] from our reflection [Besinnung] on thinking is not-willing [Nicht-Wollen]” (GA 77: 51).17 All three are aware of the “paradoxical,” if not downright “contradictory” (GA 77: 61, 59), character of this answer. A discussion ensues on how thinking, as a way of human “comportment” (Verhalten; GA 77: 63), is a kind of representing and so, following Leibniz’s analysis of striving perception, a matter of willing. The guide’s paradoxical way of speaking turns out to be a strategy for “looking away from thinking” (GA 77: 106) in this sense, so as to “admit us [einlassen] in the right way into” not-willing (GA 77: 67, my emphasis), the proper attitude of thinking. The paradox is resolved by distinguishing between two kinds of “not-willing.” The first, “a refusal [Absage] of willing,” is to lead into the second, “the sought-after essence of thinking that is not a willing” (GA 77: 107)—that is, “not a will and thus altogether nothing Willensmäßig” (GA 77: 79).

But if this distinction dissolves the paradox, it still leaves us with a problem, for it seems to suggest that the experience of thinking so achieved—an achievement that is attained through a refusal of willing and so through the kind of trying to be a thinker that the phenomenology of care demands—does not itself have the character of a trying (Streben, Wille). Heidegger’s term for a “thinking that is not a willing,” Gelassenheit, seems to reinforce just this point.

However, a closer look suggests that the thinking that is not a willing is, nevertheless, still a trying in the phenomenological sense. For the notion of willing at issue here does not apply to trying, acting for the sake of being something. This becomes clear when the guide suggests that Gelassenheit is a “waiting [Warten] . . . but never an expecting [erwarten],” because “expecting already hangs on a representing and what is represented” (GA 77: 115). Waiting anticipates something, is ready for something, but does not “expect” something, i.e., represent that for which it waits. Willing, in contrast—and here the model of willing remains techne—anticipates an end, represented as what is to be brought about through the willing. In contrast, Heidegger’s “thinking that is not a willing” is to be achieved by a “refusal of willing” in the sense of expecting a definite outcome; it is thus a waiting that expects nothing. Nevertheless, it is not an altogether unguided waiting; it takes its direction precisely from the anticipation of a “thinking that is not a willing.”

But why isn’t that an expectation, an outcome defined precisely as that state in which we no longer represent things?

It is certainly true that Heidegger’s discourse circles around a definite problem: the challenge (“supreme danger”) posed by calculative thinking and its nullification of the essence of the human being. However, the response to this problem does not have an instrumental phenomenology. The challenge cannot be met by anticipating a definite state of affairs to be brought about; rather, it requires of us a different way of existing (or “thinking”), going along a different path or Sinn-richtung. To follow a path is to wait upon what will show itself along it, but a path is not aimless, and what waiting is waiting for is normatively delineated only as one follows the Sinn-richtung of that path. Hence thinking, in this sense, is praxis: a “trying [Verhalten] that does not expand into a stance [Haltung] but gathers itself into and remains the composure [Verhaltenheit] of Gelassenheit” (GA 77: 144). If waiting is understood as “a trying [Verhalten], in which arrival is not anticipated as something present [vorhandenes] but is left [gelassen] as arrival” (GA 77: 150), then “thinking that is not a willing” also has the structure of the Umwillen, trying, acting for the sake of being something—for instance, a thinker.

When I try to be a (good) father, my trying is guided not by an end to be achieved but by a meaning that is at issue in what I do. As I carry out fatherly tasks, I can be said to “wait” for the meaning of those tasks, and so of fatherhood, to show itself. But that showing is not something that happens in the future, and so it is not “expected” as a definite outcome: it belongs to the challenge of trying as such. Along such a path I can do things that bring about ends that I have represented in advance— e.g., making preparations for my daughter’s wedding—and I do them for the sake of being a good father. But these are not representations of what it takes to be a good father; they are not prescribed by the meaning of fatherhood in the way means are prescribed by ends. The meaning of fatherhood remains at issue no matter what I do; I “await” it in such doing. This is, in fact, the very thesis that Heidegger is trying to get us to “experience” here, since in his late vocabulary, such awaiting is “thinking.” Where representational thinking reduces meaning to utility and ultimately to nihilism, meaning, the “worlding” of world, belongs only in the experience of being addressed by a direction-giving claim and responding to it thoughtfully. To (try to) respond thoughtfully is to try to be a thinker; it is the “essence of the human being” as “admitting oneself into meaning” and is accomplished only in going along the path, not at its end.18

It remains only for us to take up the other element in Heidegger’s definition of thinking: Inständigkeit. If “transcendence” still smacks too much of expecting and representing—and so retains the structure of willing—Inständigkeit better reflects the kind of “immanent” normative guidance that belongs to going along a path, the “sense” of a “direction” that belongs to trying to be something. The address to which I respond is unscheinbar, inconspicuous, and remains such, at issue, never becoming a rule or end. If in Being and Time resolute Dasein is understood as one who recognizes, by her commitment, her responsibility for the normative force of what she takes to be the meaning of whatever it is she is trying to be, then Inständigkeit is a form of resoluteness, the indwelling attending to the address as an address. “The essence of thinking . . . would be resoluteness [Entschlossenheit] for the essencing [Wesung] of truth” (GA 77: 144), and “indwellingness [Inständigkeit] . . . would thus be the genuine essence of the spontaneity of thinking,” or “noble-mindedness [Edelmut]” (GA 77: 145). It is in this way that Seyn (worlding of world) needs the human being. Phenomenologically, there is no address without an addressee, and when thinking is nullified in the form of calculation, when being an addressee is nullified into “lord of the earth” and “human resources,” there is no Seyn, no worlding of world. The universe goes silent.

A phenomenological reading of Gelassenheit, then, need not reject the transcendental position of Being and Time, but only occupy it in the particular “now” in which we find ourselves. Nor need that “now” be defined by a narrative in which it is fated or sent “by” Seyn, let alone be seen as the ineluctable outcome of a first “errant” beginning. Such a story might be helpful for pedagogical reasons, but it contains no inevitability; it is an appeal to freedom, i.e., to the situation of the “danger as such” in which what is best in trying to think—that is, in trying to be a thinker, be at home in our essence (GA 77: 104)—is always at issue.


1. In Basic Problems of Phenomenology Heidegger emphasizes the connection between the ontological difference and the “critical stance” adopted in phenomenology by referring to it as “the methodological structure of ontological-transcendental differentiation” (BPP 17, 20).

2. I thank Tobias Keiling for alerting me to this passage.

3. In Being and Time, Heidegger struggled to explain this “dependence” in relation to traditional realism and idealism (BT 211–212/254–256). Later it appears in the (intentionally ambiguous) thesis that being “needs” (braucht) the human being. I will touch on this issue below but cannot pursue it in detail. We may note, however, that in another section of the previously mentioned unpublished Introduction to the Gesamtausgabe, written between 1973 and 1975 and titled Das Argument gegen den Brauch (für das Ansichsein des Seienden), Heidegger reflects extensively on what “dependence” means within his later thinking. “The dependence of presence [des Anwesens] on the human essence is of an entirely other origin and type than that dependence which is claimed in the case of the appeal to the independence from the human being of what is in itself [des Ansichseienden].” The latter has a “causal” relation in view, whereas the former concerns “being” (Sein). Thus, “being in itself [das Ansichsein] is dependent on the human essence,” because “being always already harbors the clearing of presence [Lichtung von Anwesen] in itself, which clearing the human essence preserves” (Heidegger 2013/14, 67). Phenomenologically, this is to say that meaning, but not entities, depends on Dasein.

4. Sacha Golob (2014) offers an acute treatment of how this was supposed to work, and why it did not.

5. Mark Wrathall (2016) describes this depth dimension as “something like an attunement, operating in the background of all worldly interactions, that governs how entities can show up.”

6. The extreme tactlessness of Heidegger’s remark about mechanized agriculture has led some (e.g., Wolin 1990, 168) to suggest that Heidegger’s approach to technology is refuted by the very fact that it equates such morally different things. It is therefore either venal or useless. But—as an equally tasteless remark later in the text makes plain—the point has nothing to do with our capacity to make such distinctions; rather, it is meant to motivate the making of a different kind of distinction, namely, between surface and depth dimensions of intelligibility. Heidegger claims that the “millions” who were “liquidated” in the extermination camps did not “die” (sterben) but “perished” (umkommen) (GA 79: 56). His point in doing so, however, is to serve notice that everyone perishes now; no one is capable of death as death because everything, including ourselves, presences as standing reserve.

7. Such “making possible” is not meant to explain what brought science about but to help us understand what science is. As Heidegger puts it, “reckoned chronologically” it is “correct” to say that “mathematical physics arose two centuries before technology,” but “thought historically”—that is, in terms of the history of being—“it does not hit upon the true” (QT 21–22).

8. Two quite different accounts of this “epochal” approach to being, both of which remain sensitive to phenomenological questions, are found in Tobias Keiling’s notion of “ontological pluralism” (Keiling 2015) and Iain Thomson’s concept of “onto-theologies” (Thomson 2005).

9. Is such behavior not better explained in terms of global capitalism or other “historical forces”? There is certainly a serious issue here (see, for instance, Feenberg 1999), but I will bracket it. Heidegger is not after such explanations but the meaning they presuppose, and there is no reason why a phenomenology of measure must conflict with such ontic history.

10. In responding to Derrida’s project of deconstruction, Gadamer (1989, 106– 107) points toward the kind of phenomenological approach I am advocating here: “At this point we must think further about whether the phrase ‘the language of metaphysics’ has any meaning.” Indeed, “there is no ‘language of metaphysics.’ There is only a metaphysically thought-out coinage of concepts that have been lifted from living speech. Such coinage can . . . establish a fixed conceptual tradition and consequently lead to an alienation from the living language,” but (I would add) neither they nor any other “names” we might come up with are fated either to imprison or to free our thinking.

11. The appearance of the word Vernichtung in a text written in 1944/45 cannot but recall its use in the term Vernichtungslager (extermination camp). Heidegger tries to ward off such associations by insisting that nullification is “essentially other than destruction” (GA 79: 19) and that not “human beings,” but “the essence of human being is nullified” (GA 79: 21). Surely there is more to be said about this, but the present essay is not the place to pursue it.

12. This passage actually speaks not about the Open but about the Gegnet. This is one of numerous neologisms that Heidegger introduces in the conversation, and there may be good reasons behind his choices. Exploring the nuances would be a lengthy business, but fortunately our present task—determining the extent to which Gelassenheit retains elements of the care-structure— does not require it. Bret Davis’s Translator’s Introduction to CPC provides a helpful discussion of the terminological difficulties, and Davis (2007) enters extensively into the issues I will be touching on below, though space does not allow me to address the points where my interpretation moves in a different direction.

13. Jeff Malpas (2006) offers a richly phenomenological account of Heidegger’s topological (or topographical) thinking.

14. Drawing out the implications of Husserl’s phenomenological notion of horizon—which breaks with the “representational” thinking of both “empiricism” and “intellectualism”—is a major goal of Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception (Merleau-Ponty 2012).

15. We do reflect on what it means to be a father and deliberate how best to go on, but in Heidegger’s ontology of care these forms of intentionality derive from a kind of self-understanding that does not depend on such intentionality. Hubert Dreyfus has developed this point extensively in numerous publications. See, for instance, Dreyfus (1991, 95).

16. I take it that one way of answering this question—with “speculative realism” or “object-oriented-ontology”—is ruled out. In these “anti-correlationist” approaches, Heidegger’s objection to the phenomenological centering of things on the human being authorizes the idea that we can talk about things without any reference to the commitments we bring with us when we do so. But Heidegger’s talk of “letting things be” is not an invitation to adopt a third-person stance in which the position of the thinker is just one more “thing,” nor does he pretend that we can think or experience something as this or that without a normative context which provides such designations with the meaning we take them to have. Calling something an arche-fossil or a hammer or an electron—or a jug or a Gegnet or a Geviert, for that matter—has a determinate meaning only in a normative context grounded in the speaker’s commitment. The “realism” which opposes this is perfectly suited to Ge-stell since, by denying the correlational conditions of meaning, it does away with meaning altogether and bottoms out in nihilism.

17. For several pages the text plays with the ambiguity in the term wollen between “wanting” and “willing,” before decisively assimilating the former to the latter. I will simplify the translation here by using “willing” throughout.

18. On “accomplishing” in this sense, see Heidegger’s “Letter on ‘Humanism’ ” (P 239–243).


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Steven Crowell - The Challenge of Heidegger’s Approach to Technology: A Phenomenological Reading
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