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Inheriting the Question of Technology: Grammatology, Originary Technicity, Ecotechnics

Hodge, Joanna (2019) Inheriting the Question of Technology: Grammatology, Originary Technicity, Ecotechnics. In: French Thought and Literary Theory in the UK. Routledge, pp. 139-159. ISBN 9780367408220

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Abstract

In mutual appreciation and mutual challenge, Bernard Stiegler, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Jacques Derrida take up and dispute the account of technology and the priority to the mode of questioning endorsed by Martin Heidegger, in his post-war reflections on the destiny of philosophy. In the context of what Heidegger diagnoses as the completion and overcoming of metaphysics, in a retrieval by Nietzsche of a Platonic origin, a key notion distinction in dispute is that between phusis, the Greek notion of natural growth, and techne, the skills acquired by human beings. The transformation of technology in the epoch of tele-communications, digital information systems, and algorithmic identities reveals technical systems as self-generating, putting human being into circulation within those systems, and no longer in control. Techne is to be predicated of systems, no longer of human beings, while phusis, in climate change and environmental despoliation, has become inextricably intertwined with technical destructions, the residues from nuclear bomb testing, and the consequences of Amazon forest clearance. The discussion here shows how writings of Stiegler, Nancy, and Derrida stimulate discussion of an inheritance from Heidegger all the more volatile granted Heidegger’s Nazi sympathies and failure to condemn the politics of genocide. Their notions respectively of originary prosthetics, ecotechnics, and grammatology invite the development of a conceptuality adequate to address these new conditions.

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