2018 Special Lecture: Technology and art

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Humanities and social science courses
Bektas Yakup 
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Media-enhanced courses
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Course description and aims

Technology and Art in Heidegger:
What is technology? What is art? How do they relate to each other, conceptually and historically? Was there a time when art and craft (or technology) were one? This course explores these questions and concepts in the philosophy of Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), specifically through his two seminal essays: "The Question Concerning Technology" (1954) and "The Origin of the Work of Art" (1960). We will discuss Heidegger’s concept of modern technology, the more aggressive, uncontrollable, and ever-expanding form of the traditional or old technology, its relation to concepts such as deinon and the sublime. How can technology be both an expression of human freedom and “the supreme danger” to it? Can we experience the world without technology or a technological frame of mind? Then, can art provide for us a different mode of experiencing the world? In particular, can art provide a freer, more “original,” mode of experience than the encompassing technological mode that sees everything as Bestand or “standing reserve”? We will discuss what makes a work of art art and how one may read, as Heidegger did, Van Gogh’s “Shoes” both artistically and technically (as a mere technological artifact).

Student learning outcomes

Be able to think critically and deeply on the concepts of technology, art, and their relations; and conceptualize and understand them in terms of Heideggerian philosophy


Technology and art in Heidegger, modern technology, the sublime, Heidegger's "the origin of the work of art," "the question concerning technology," Van Gogh’s “Shoes”

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

Conducted generally in a lecture style and occasionally when possible in seminar style.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 What is technology? Read "The Question Concerning Technology," pp.
Class 2 What is technology? To Deinon and the Sublime Read "The Question Concerning Technology," pp.
Class 3 The old mill v. the modern dam and power station: are they the same? Read "The Question Concerning Technology," pp.
Class 4 The world as Bestand Read "The Question Concerning Technology," pp.
Class 5 What is art? Read "The Origin of the Work of Art," pp.
Class 6 Van Gogh’s “Shoes” Read "The Origin of the Work of Art," pp.
Class 7 Art, emotions, poetry, and literature Read "The Origin of the Work of Art," pp.
Class 8 Technology and art Read "The Origin of the Work of Art," pp.


Martin Heidegger: The Question Concerning Technology (1954); The Origin of the Work of Art (1960)

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Basic list: Martin Heidegger: "Hölderlin's Hymn-'The Ister'" (1942), “The Turning” (1949), “The Question Concerning Technology” (1949, 1954), "The Origin of the Work of Art" (1960);
Martin Heidegger, Basic Writings -from Being and Time (1927) to The Task of Thinking (1964) (Revised and Expanded Edition, Edited by David Farrell Krell, Harper Perennial, 2008)

Assessment criteria and methods

Based on attendance, performance, and writing assignments (short essays); roughly %80 for attendance and performance, and %20 for writing assignments

Related courses

  • Determined later

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)


Office hours

One hour after every class. Other times by appointment by email or call.

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