Instrumental rationality

Instrumental rationality is a mode of thought and action that identifies problems and works directly towards their solution.[1] Instrumental rationality is often studied as a social phenomenon by sociology, social philosophy and critical theory. Its proponents appear to work largely without reference to the school Instrumentalism, with which it is so closely associated linguistically. Perhaps […]

Instrumental rationality is a mode of thought and action that identifies problems and works directly towards their solution.[1]

Instrumental rationality is often studied as a social phenomenon by sociology, social philosophy and critical theory. Its proponents appear to work largely without reference to the school Instrumentalism, with which it is so closely associated linguistically. Perhaps its most famous critic is philosopher Martin Heidegger, who argued that the greatest danger facing modern humans was their own instrumental relationship to the world.


Martin Heidegger

Martin Heidegger (German: [ˈmaɐ̯tiːn ˈhaɪdɛɡɐ]; September 26, 1889 – May 26, 1976) was a German philosopher, widely seen as a seminal thinker in the Continental tradition, although tainted by his association with the Nazi regime. From beginnings as a Catholicacademic, he developed a groundbreaking philosophy that influenced literary, social and political theory, art and aesthetics,architecture, cultural anthropology, design, environmentalism, psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. For Heidegger, the things in lived experience always have more to them than what we […]

Martin Heidegger (German: [?ma??ti?n ?ha?d???]; September 26, 1889 – May 26, 1976) was a German philosopher, widely seen as a seminal thinker in the Continental tradition, although tainted by his association with the Nazi regime. From beginnings as a Catholicacademic, he developed a groundbreaking philosophy that influenced literarysocial and political theoryart and aesthetics,architecture, cultural anthropologydesignenvironmentalismpsychoanalysis and psychotherapy.

For Heidegger, the things in lived experience always have more to them than what we can see; accordingly, the true nature of being is “withdrawal”. The interplay between the obscured reality of things and their appearance in what he calls the “clearing” is Heidegger’s main theme. The presence of things for us is not their being, but merely their being interpreted as equipment according to a particular system of meaning and purpose. For instance, when a hammer is efficiently used to knock in nails we cease to be aware of it. This is termed ‘ready to hand’, and Heidegger considers it an authentic mode. The ‘time’ in the title of his best-known workBeing and Time, refers to the way that the given features (‘past’) are interpreted in the light of their possibilities. Heidegger claimed philosophy and science since ancient Greece had reduced things to their presence, which was a superficial way of understanding them. Modern technology made things mere stockpiles of useful presence.

It has been suggested Heidegger’s championing of Nazism as university chancellor between 1933 and 1934 was motivated by his view that the Nazis did not share the technological worldview of American capitalism and Soviet communism. In the aftermath of World War II he was banned from teaching, and denounced by Karl Jaspers. Amid mounting pressure that included talk of confiscating his books, Heidegger suffered a minor nervous breakdown. He tearfully apologized for his misdeeds to a former mentor, by then an archbishop, but never made similar statements in public. He was rehabilitated and made a professor emeritus in 1951.

Being and Time (GermanSein und Zeit) is a 1927 book by the German philosopher Martin Heidegger. Although written quickly, and though Heidegger did not complete the project outlined in the introduction, it remains his most important work. It has profoundly influenced 20th-century philosophy, particularly existentialismhermeneutics and deconstruction. The book is dedicated to Edmund Husserl “in friendship and admiration”.

Being and Time

Every attempt of the human race to impose on nature by technology seems to always result in the paradox of achieving the opposite of what is sought. Modern technology provides the possibility of 24×7 worldwide connections with an ever expanding … Continue reading

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Every attempt of the human race to impose on nature by technology seems to always result in the paradox of achieving the opposite of what is sought. Modern technology provides the possibility of 24×7 worldwide connections with an ever expanding circle of acquaintances. Yet it seems people feel more isolated than ever. A trending and recurring topic in social media is the superficiality and impersonality of social media interactions. People that claim to be above the lure of Facebook daily post what they have for lunch and their exercise routines. It is curious, because what one have for lunch is the essence of life, but the symbol of the thing is not the thing, and the sharing of the symbol is no the sharing of the thing. That’s the core of our problems with meaning: our inability to distinguish between symbols and reality. Moreover, the oversupply of self-help book that demand of all of us an optimal use of our time to reach perfection and success, leave us with no time for authentic being.

Being, Heidegger claims in Being and Time, is “what determines beings as beings, that in terms of which beings are already understood.” In Heidegger’s view, fundamental ontology would be an explanation of the understanding preceding any other way of knowing. There is no access to being other than via beings themselves—hence pursuing the question of being inevitably means asking about a being with regard to its being. Heidegger concludes his work with a set of enigmatic questions foreshadowing the necessity of destruction of the history of philosophy: Is there a way leading from primordial time to the meaning of being? Does time itself reveal itself as the horizon of being?

But technology is not the source of the banality of our lives, rather it provides the opportunity for furious, socially sanctified, activity in which to drown our angst.

Do you remember an old Bruce Springsteen song called Glory Days? The lyrics tell the tale of three people who look back on times gone by with longing. The last verse goes like this: Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture a little of the glory of, well time slips away and leaves you with nothing mister but boring stories of glory days.