Volume 15, Issue 1, Spring 2001
A. T. Nuyen
The World Wide Web and the Web of Life
Some Critical Reflections on the Internet
Heidegger is well known for his views on technology. What would he have to say about the crowning glory of digital technology, the Internet? This paper argues that he would not reject the new technology, which would be just as inauthentic as being delivered over to it. Instead, Heidegger would urge us to reflect critically on it to see how we could develop a free relationship to it. He would say that in order to have a free relationship to it, we need to avoid letting it serve to make us forget our Being as Being-in-the-world. An inauthentic relationship with the Internet occurs when we take to it because of the anonymity it affords, or because we mistake the wealth of information it makes available for real knowledge. For all that, Heidegger regards technology as having a “saving power,” or the potential to reveal Being. However, I argue that to be saved by technology’s saving power, we need to develop, on the one hand, what Foucault calls the “arts of existence,” and on the other what Habermas calls “human interests,” interests that will help realize the potential of the Internet.