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Episteme

Abstract

What is the status of representational photography in Heidegger’s philosophies of art and technology? Does it count as the epitome of the modern subjective mindset, as Michael E. Zimmerman believes, or does it it actually amount to a higher art form than painting? Answers result from an analysis of Heidegger’s thought on art and truth, but also from a careful study of Heidegger’s philosophy of technology. It seems that the camera can be either a revealer of Being destined as such by Being (which is good), or an instrument for human mastery over all existence (which is bad). The author believes Heidegger is most consistent if we accept the first option. The photographer does not create reality and so does not succumb to Zimmerman’s analysis. Ironically, it is certain schools of painting in the technological era which are often false and anthropocentric in their abandonment of traditional representation. Finally, if we seriously meet Heidegger’s desire for a new understanding of technology, we see that Heidegger’s adoration of painting is misleading.

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