All page numbers refer to "The Question Concerning Technology" as it appears in Martin Heidegger: Basic Writings, ed. David Farrell Krell, trans. William Lovitt, New York: Harper & Row, 1977.

pages 294-295

"But where have we strayed to?"

We should pause for a moment and get our bearings:

If we continue to pursue the question of the essence of technology, Heidegger now argues, we will come to see that technology is a kind of poeisis, a way of bringing forth or revealing--and, as such, is "the realm of truth" (294).

What does Heidegger mean by this? What does he gain from the seemingly radical and far-fetched association of technology and poetry? At this point in the essay, we begin to see that Heidegger has been developing an alternative way of thinking about technology, one that is not strictly bound to instrumentality. And as we will soon see, he is pointing out the similiarities between the ways in which technology and poetry confront the world in order to contrast them later.

By now, it should come as no surprise that Heidegger turns again to etymology when he challenges us to "take seriously the simple question of what the word 'technology' means" (294).

Our word "technology" comes from the Greek technikon, which is related to the word techne. Heidegger makes two points about techne:

If we understand technology as deriving from this concept of techne, Heidegger continues, then we will see that its essence lies not in the instrumental production of goods or manipulation of materials, but in "revealing." Remember that Heidegger has said something similar about the silversmith, who, through his techne, brings together the form and matter of the chalice within the idea of "chaliceness" to reveal the chalice that has been "on its way" to existence.

At this point, Heidegger anticipates an objection to his representation of modern technology as "a mode of revealing."