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Sean D. Kelly : Harvard University
Technê, Technology, and Truth from Aristotle to Foucault'
Technology and human existence stand in a deep and revealing relation with one another. It is not just that human beings are tool-using creatures, or that human history is basically co-extensive with the history of technological innovation. Rather, and more fundamentally, technology is a central means by which human beings establish the truth of what is, and in particular of what human beings are. To understand this claim properly, however, we need to know what truth is and how technê – the Greek word for skill or craft – is related to it. This paper starts with Aristotle’s account of these phenomena, digs back towards a deeper and more revealing account of them in the work of the poets, prophets, and kings of the Archaic Greek era, and ends with the appropriation of this deeper account in the works of Heidegger and Foucault. It develops the claim that the master craftsmen, through the masterly practice of his or her craft, can literally establish what is true.