Skip to main content

Heidegger in the Machine: The Difference between Techne and Mechane

Mei, Todd (2016) Heidegger in the Machine: The Difference between Techne and Mechane. Continental Philosophy Review, 49 . pp. 267-292. ISSN 1387-2842. E-ISSN 1573-1103. (doi:10.1007/s11007-015-9319-3) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:51777)

PDF Publisher pdf
Language: English

Restricted to Repository staff only
Contact us about this Publication
[thumbnail of Off_Print_Mei_Machine.pdf]
Official URL


Machines are often employed in Heidegger’s philosophy as instances to illustrate specific features of modern technology. But what is it about machines that allows them to fulfill this role? This essay argues there is a unique ontological force to the machine that can be understood when looking at distinctions between techne and mechane in ancient Greek sources and applying these distinctions to a reading of Heidegger’s early thought on equipment and later thought on poiesis. Especially with respect to Heidegger’s appropriation of Aristotle’s conception of dunamis (capacity, power, force, potential), it becomes apparent from a Heideggerian perspective that machines provide an increase in capacity to its human users, but only so at a cost. This cost involves a problem of knowledge where the set of operations required in machine use results in the loss of understanding our dependency on being. The essay then concludes with a discussion of how this relation to machinic capacity is not merely pessimistic and deterministic, but indicates what might constitute a free relation to machines.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/s11007-015-9319-3
Uncontrolled keywords: Heidegger, machine, mechane, techne, dunamis, power
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Todd Mei
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2015 14:53 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:29 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Mei, Todd:
  • Depositors only (login required):


Downloads per month over past year