Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 5, No 2 (2009)

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Žižek and the Ontological Emergence of Technology

Daniel Peter Hourigan


This discussion utilises the thought of Slavoj Žižek as a departure point to consider the ontological emergence of technology as techne in the conceptual encounter of the Abyss in Being. Following Heidegger, Žižek’s critique examines the ontical and ontological implications of modern science. His championing of the political Cause makes the social realm essential for Žižek’s turn against the possible domination of a deterministic, technical, and scientific rationality. The problem of modern science dominating subjectivity with objectivity, i.e. the reduction of humanity to a biogenetic structure, calls for an opening of the deadlock of rationalist determinism with the facilitation of envaluing Being, lest we be cut off from intersubjectivity by a psychotic breakdown. It is precisely in the lack of control we have of other people, the reliance on others, that we come to revivify our mastery of who we are and our actions. In the Žižekian mode the ethical ‘ought’ is not an obstacle in the path of modern science but a guide, an epochal constellation of value and understanding occurring in the socio-political realm that emancipates itself from the naïve resignation inculcated by the deterministic causality of rationalisation. The aim of this paper is to explore how Žižek understands this envaluing as the ‘mythologisation of technology’.


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