Country Path Conversations [12–13]

a linguistic usage, albeit such that this linguistic usage then for its part immediately, and in the sense of the usual language which takes up this usage, asserts its rule [verfügt] over the word and no longer turns itself back to the word’s rightful decree [Fug und Recht].

Scholar: The ruling [fügende] word in the name “technology” is the Greek τέχνη, which is usually translated as “art,” whereby the word implies as much as skill. This [13] signification of the word τέχνη yields nothing for our understanding of the essence of “technology,” granted that we may at all trust a word to show us into the essence—or even only to show us the direction of the essence—of what it names.

Guide: We hardly know what the word is capable of. But if it is supposed to indicate [deuten] to us that which is signified [Bedeutete] in it, then at least at first we have to attempt to pay attention to this indicating in the word. We neglect to do this, however, if we hastily run to the dictionary and, as in our case, thoughtlessly stick the word used to translate, namely “art” or “skill,” in place of the word translated, namely τέχνη. We omit something essential if the word happens to be a fundamental word of the given language, and if special meditations have even been devoted to its signification and to the matter signified in it. Yet this is the case with the word τέχνη.

Scholar: I take it from your explanation that the usual translation of τέχνη as “art” thinks past the proper signification, if it thinks at all.

Guide: Such is the case. Τέχνη belongs to the stem τεκ—“to bring forth.” In the sense of the thinking to which the Greek language belongs, “to bring forth” means as much as this: to bring something to presence and to let it appear. Τέχνη indicates, however, not first of all the bringing-forth of an individual thing, but rather the setting-forth and setting-toward [Her-und Zu-stellen] of the sight and outward look5 of a thing in accordance with which the thing is setforth into what presences as a thing which looks like this or that. Τέχνη is the letting-see and bringing-into-view of that which a thing is according to its essence. “Technology” in the modern sense is a kind of τέχνη. Modern technology is that letting-see and

5. Aussehen, which will occasionally be translated simply as “look,” is translated here and generally, below, more literally as “outward look” in the sense of “outer appearance.” Elsewhere Heidegger uses it as a translation of the Greek εἶδος. (Compare below, p. 58; and see Sein und Zeit, 17th edition (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 1993), p. 61. Joan Stambaugh translates Aussehen as “outward appearance” in Being and Time (Albany: SUNY Press, 1996), p. 57.) A critical implication here is that when things are treated merely as objects of representation and technological production, their essence is reduced to the way they outwardly appear to human subjectivity (see below, pp. 55–56, 63, 82–83).—Tr.

Page generated by CounPathSteller.EXE