Can McGilchrist's Neuro-Cortical Hemisphere Hypothesis offer a Naturalistic Account of Heidegger's Critique of the Technological Way of Being?
Date: 21 March 2022
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
MbyRes in Philosophy
In The Question Concerning Technology, Martin Heidegger puts forth his critique of the technological way of Being, which he terms Gestell, commonly translated as enframing. This pre-reflective understanding of the world manifests itself as a world of inter-changeable resources, as Hubert Dreyfus puts it. As the modern understanding of ...
In The Question Concerning Technology, Martin Heidegger puts forth his critique of the technological way of Being, which he terms Gestell, commonly translated as enframing. This pre-reflective understanding of the world manifests itself as a world of inter-changeable resources, as Hubert Dreyfus puts it. As the modern understanding of Being, Heidegger thinks it comes alongside a danger – that it is considered to be the only way of Being. This is dangerous because it conceals the historical narrative of Being: understandings of it have changed over the course of history. Yet there remains a possible saving from this danger. By understanding that enframing is but one way of Being amongst previous ways, we might keep open the possibility that enframing does not end up becoming the final one. It is my claim that Heidegger’s critique of the technological way of Being, enframing, might be able to be understood from a more naturalistic position; the argument that I shall present will be that Iain McGilchrist’s Hemisphere Hypothesis might be able to act as a neuro-cortical basis for enframing. It is McGilchrist’s claim that the two hemispheres of the brain are divided not on a structural or even functional basis, but on an attentional one: they interpret and engage with the world in fundamentally different, yet complementary ways. However, he claims, the left-hemisphere has been able to achieve a kind of dominance over the right, for various complex reasons, which has had the resultant effect of modern society being broadly reflective of its general outlook of the world. I will argue for the claim that the way the left-hemisphere views the world can be broadly construed in terms that are similar to Heidegger’s analysis of enframing, and that as such it might be that the notion of left-hemisphere dominance could be the basis of enframing. I will also argue for the secondary claim, necessarily connected to the first, that if left-hemisphere dominance might be understood as the basis of the danger of enframing, then a return to the right-hemisphere, to hemispheric balance, might just be the saving power as Heidegger suggests, which can open up the possibility of a different way of Being.
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