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Prospectus

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Mind and Technology: Heidegger's Heritage

Course
2020-2021

Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to:

  • BA students in Philosophy, who have successfully completed their first year, and who have also completed at least 10 EC’s of the mandatory components of their second year, including Philosophy of Mind or Concepts of Selfhood.

  • Pre-master’s students in Philosophy who are in possession of an admission statement, and for whom this course is part of their programme.

Description

In this course we will analyse the relationship between mind and technology by taking Martin Heidegger’s Die Frage nach der Technik (The Question Concerning Technology) as a starting point. In line with this, we will look at three contemporary trajectories in continental philosophy, each of which engages in a substantial and critical way with Heidegger’s seminal text on technology: (1) Don Ihde’s postphenomenology, which focuses on the embodiment of technologies, starting from the assumption that human beings and technologies mutually constitute each other; (2) Bernard Stiegler’s pharmacology which emerges from a rereading of the myth of Prometheus; (3) Graham Harman’s ‘object oriented ontology (OOO)’, in which Heidegger’s distinction between readiness-to-hand (Zuhandenheit) and presence-at-hand (Vorhandenheit) is extended to being a such, resulting in an analysis of so-called tool-being.

Course objectives

This course aims to provide the students with a clear view of:

  • Heidegger’s conception of technology;

  • the three trajectories that respond to and advance upon Heidegger’s conception of technology;

  • the interrelation of mind and technology in these discourses;

  • the relevance of these discourses on technology for current debates.

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of:

  • the different ways of understanding the relation between mind and technology that emerged after Heidegger;

  • the relations between philosophy and technology;

  • some important aspects of the ethical questions that come up in relation to our philosophical understanding of technology.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • critically understand and interconnect Heidegger’s seminal text on technology with the three trajectories that respond to it: pharmacology (e.g., Stiegler), postphenomenology (e.g., Idhe), and objected oriented ontology (e.g., Harman);

  • present a consistent view of the problems that motivate contemporary discourses on technology.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the following websites:

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Assessment method

Assessment

  • Attendance and participation in class discussions

  • Book review

  • Final research paper

Non-graded practical exercises

  • In the second block, students have to present their progress on the book review.

  • Each student has to hand in a proposal for the final essay and discuss it in smaller groups.

  • In the last seminar, each student will have to present a draft version of the paper.

These three exercises will not be graded, but are required for getting admission to the exam (book review + final paper).

Weighting

The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of the graded subtests:

  • Attendance and participation in class discussions (10%)

  • Book review (30%)

  • Final research paper (60%)

Resit

The resit covers the entire exam (100%) and consists of a paper.
Active participation in class is required for admission to the resit.
Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination cannot take the resit.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

  • Martin Heidegger’s Die Frage nach der Technik (The Question Concerning Technology)

  • Selections from Martin Heidegger’s Sein und Zeit (Being and Time)

  • Selections from Bernard Stiegler, La technique et le temps, 1: La faute d'Épiméthée (Technics and Time, 1: The Fault of Epimetheus) and related texts.

  • Selections from Don Ihde Heidegger's Technologies Postphenomenological Perspectives and related texts.

  • Selections from Graham Harman's Tool-Being: Heidegger and the Metaphysics of Objects and related texts.

  • Selected secondary material.

Students are advised to purchase a version of Heidegger’s text on technology. Other texts will be distributed or can be found online through the library.

Registration

Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetables for courses and exams.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Contact

Dr. M. Boven

Remarks

Not applicable.