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The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 6, 1998

Contemporary Philosophy

Wanda Torres Gregory
Pages 119-130

Heidegger On Traditional Language And Technological Language

On July 18, 1962, Martin Heidegger delivered a lecture entitled Traditional Language and Technological Language in which he argues that the opposition between these two languages concerns our very essence. I examine the nature of this opposition by developing his argument within his particular context and in the general light of his reflections on language. In different sections on technology and language, I summarize much of what he had said in previous writings on the topic (viz., "Die Frage nach der Technik" and "Der Weg zur Sprache"), including his preliminary comments contrasting instruction with teaching, and characterizing this reflection in terms of its uselessness. The central issue connecting these seemingly varying themes is the status of education in our modern technological age and, more specifically, of instruction in the mother tongue. Heidegger’s concern for the status of instruction in the mother tongue is, as we will see later, directly connected to his distinction between the two forms of language.

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