CriticaLink | Heidegger: The Question Concerning Technology | Martin Heidegger (1889-1976)

Martin Heidegger is one of the most influential and controversial figures in twentieth-century Western philosophy. He began studying theology in Freiburg, Germany, in 1909, then switched to mathematics and philosophy, completing a doctorate in philosophy in 1913. He served in the German army in World War I, after which he went back to work in Freiburg as the assistant of the philosopher Edmund Husserl. He published significant works on the problems of perception, time, and the concept of "exisitence"; his most renowned work, Being and Time, appeared in 1927. A new translation of this text by Joan Stambaugh is now available (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996).

Heidegger joned the National Socialist party in 1933. After the war, he was banned from university teaching on account of his Nazi connections. He suffered a nervous breakdown in 1946. He continued to write and lecture on philosophy. "The Question Concerning Technology" emerges out of a series of talks he delivered from 1949 to 1953. His work has had a great influence on continental philosophy and on the development of literary and cultural theory, though serious questions remain about his political convinctions. Students interested in the philosophy of art should read his essay "The Origin of the Work of Art" in the collection Poetry, Language, Thought (tr. Albert Hofstadter, New York: Harper and Row, 1971); those interested in literature and communications might also find uses for the collection On the Way to Language (tr. Peter D. Hertz, New York: Harper and Row, 1971).