Part 1: Johannes Achill Niederhauser on Martin Heidegger
Précis: This part of the course introduces students to Heidegger’s philosophy of technology and his attempts to articulate ways of poetic existence within the current prevalent techno-scientific framework. We focus on pivotal essays by Heidegger where he lays out his understanding of the technological age as an epoch of objectification and making-available and operable. But we also focus on those essays in which Heidegger presents ways of wholesome dwelling and community-building possible within and despite the overarching exclusivity of the dominant technological will to power. Appreciating our own and the mortality of our peers is pivotal in this regard.
Lecture 1 on Heidegger: The Question Concerning Technology. The first lecture explicates Heidegger’s terminology and his understanding of the technological age. We learn what technology does to the earth and to us and how modern technology is a result of Kant’s philosophy and Newtonian physics.
- Required reading: The Question Concerning Technology by Martin Heidegger
- Additional reading: The Age of the World Picture by Martin Heidegger
Lecture 2 on Heidegger: The Loss of Nearness. The second lecture looks at how we lose any genuine sense of nearness and place through the advent of tele-media, be that the radio, TV, or today the omnipresence of the Internet. At the same time we look at Heidegger’s suggestion for how we could bring about again a wholesome way of being when we begin again to consider being as a gift rather than a fact.
- Required reading: The Thing by Martin Heidegger
- Additional reading: The Origin of the Artwork by Martin Heidegger
Lecture 3 on Heidegger: Poetic Existence and Communities of Mortals. This part of the lecture course concludes with Heidegger’s suggestion for a genuine human world possible in the age of technology. A genuine human world comes about when humans appreciate their mortality and finite capacities. Poetic existence means to forego the will to control and dominate by allowing for the free play of things.
- Required reading: Building Dwelling Thinking by Martin Heidegger
- Additional reading: What are Poets for...? by Martin Heidegger
Part 2: Justin Murphy on Gilles Deleuze
Précis: Has technological acceleration destroyed the dream of political liberation, or are we finally rushing toward it? This part of the course presents the question of technology from the perspective of Gilles Deleuze (and his collaborator Félix Guattari). A first lecture provides a reading and explication of Deleuze’s most concrete statement on the problem of contemporary technology, his Postscript on the Societies of Control. A second lecture explores how exactly technological development produces increasing enslavement as well as material wealth and democracy. Finally, a third lecture explores concrete "lines of flight," exit, and escape from techno-capitalist enslavement, emphasizing the experimental-scientific logic of what Deleuze and Guattari call "nomad science."
Lecture 1 on Deleuze: The New Societies of Control. Deleuze contra Foucault — "Everyone knows that these institutions are finished" — The social science of the information revolution — "The ineptitude of the unions" — Cybernetics — "We are at the beginning of something..."
- Required reading: Postscript on the Societies of Control by Gilles Deleuze
- Additional reading: "The Body of the Condemned" in Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault
Lecture 2 on Deleuze: Machines of Capture. Primer on Gilbert Simondon and Lewis Mumford — The mechanisms whereby society functions as a machine of stratification and capture — Desire and investment in the social system — Coding, overcoding, and decoding.
- Required reading: "Capitalist Representation" in Anti-Oedipus by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari
- Additional reading: "The Second Positive Task" in in Anti-Oedipus
Lecture 3 on Deleuze: Machines of Liberation. The line of flight — Becoming imperceptible — Smooth space — Vitalism — Nomad science.
- Required reading: "1227: Treatise on Nomadology — The War Machine" in A Thousand Plateaus
- Additional reading: The Coming Community by Giorgio Agamben