I’m currently battling with Heidegger and Latour and find their philosophical positions reminiscent of the ‘leap of faith’ vs agnosticism argument. So why should I be drawn into the etymology of being and technology when the subject and object of my PhD is a contemporary snake-arm robot and peoples (future) interactions with it? I’m not interested in whether the snake-arm robot has thingness or not, I don’t care if robots or things have some excess or residue outside of the relational world as Heidegger would have it. Im far more interested in their (possible) agency within the relational world of human-robot interaction, particularly where they actually help people in an ethical context. The dichotomy however, intensifies as I read more Heidegger and his interpreters (Harman etc) – the philosophy becomes ever more provocative. (He was still a nasty little Nazi though!)
Sheesh – more roundabout reading required!
Source: (Graham Harman) http://cje.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/bep021v1?ijkey=oxf1js0onhVC73f&keytype=ref