Philosophy Today


published on May 18, 2021

Alina Achenbach

The Ontic Gift
The Temporality of Technics between Heidegger and Derrida

Much of modern technology critique inherits Heidegger’s ontico-ontological distinction. In this paper, following Stiegler’s linking of the ontic to the transgenerational, I argue that Heidegger leaves the materiality of technics as a potential site for difference in the wake. Put differently, Heidegger “declines the gift of the ontic,” instead constructing an order of an imagined Graeco-German inheritance—a culturally and linguistically specific “saving-power” against the ills of modern technology. Through Derrida’s inheritance of Heidegger’s work—marked by a different language and (postcolonial) positionality—I reconsider ontico-ontological difference as an opening to a co-constitutive productivity of world and thing, where the passing on of mnemonic inheritance features multiplicities of languages and cultural techniques that preempt Heidegger’s “Graeco-German monolingualism.” This calls for a central positioning of the politics of memory and inheritance within modern technology critique, thereby attending both to the material realities as well as the cultural differences of technics.