[ 6 ]

Concluding Postphenomenological Postscript

Writing Technologies

In the progression of chapters, the reader will have noted that I have taken several different critical perspectives upon Heidegger—antiromantic, pragmatically anti-essentialist, historical, and so on. But there remains a double task to conclude this assessment of Heidegger: on one side, I shall now suggest that Heidegger' s philosophy of technology—already seen to be highly dated—has only regional or limited relevance, particularly with respect to contemporary technologies. On the other side, I want to suggest a more phenomenological, or postphenomenological counterstrategy for technology analysis. While I shall not repeat the exercise undertaken in the last chapter, which discusses Heidegger's valorization of writing with an ink pen and his denigration of writing with a typewriter, I have always found this example of his technology analysis highly amusing and phenomenologically arbitrary. Granted, composition with pen or typewriter keyboard in the early twentieth century does speak to the two then most dominant forms of writing practice. What was to become a much more powerful mode of composition, word processing, did not actually become prominent until the late twentieth century.

What I want to do here, in very abbreviated form, is to take a very long historical look at major moments in the history of writing, using these moments as phenomenological variations in writing practice. In my own postphenomenological style, I shall look at the production of writing in practice, noting its forms of embodied activity and its entailment of writing technologies or instruments. Underway, I shall also be hinting at a