JBSP Online: Book review – Ernst Jünger’s Philosophy of Technology by Vincent Blok

journal update

Joel Bock’s review of Ernst Jünger’s Philosophy of Technology by Vincent Blok for the JBSP, available via T&F Online now.

Joel Bock – Book Review: ‘Ernst Jünger’s Philosophy of Technology: Heidegger and the Poetics of the Anthropocene by Vincent Blok’ [London, Routledge, 2017]. (Review originally published online: 8 July 2019).

Opening paragraph: In Ernst Jünger’s Philosophy of Technology: Heidegger and the Poetics of the Anthropocene, Vincent Blok offers a strong case for the relevance and importance of Jünger’s philosophy of technology. Not only is Jünger’s thought historically significant due to its influence on the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, argues Blok, but it is also a philosophical outlook worth considering in its own right. Through an analysis of a broad range of Jünger’s texts from the 1920s through the 1960s, Blok argues that Jünger’s thought is unique in its attempt to articulate the scope of the totality of the ongoing mobilization of all beings (human and non-human alike) into “potential energy”such that the entire world is conceived only in terms of efficiency and functionality. Jünger insists that his depiction of the technological world in which we live – one that he characterizes as “nihilistic” in the sense that no entity in this totally mobilized world holds intrinsic value – is not a “critique” or a romantic pining for a lost, pre-technological era, but rather a description of the world as it is – that is, as totally mobilized. However, total mobilization, Blok explains, is for Jünger symptomatic of “a new turning of being” in which the gestalt of the worker arises and gives meaning to this meaningless world of technological totalization. Blok develops these elements in Jünger’s thought through an analysis of the historical development of Jünger’s thinking and methodology from his early to mature period. Blok’s reading of Jünger’s philosophy of technology furthermore brings the following to light: a lucid, succinct explanation of the influence of Nietzsche’s understanding of nihilism and the “will to power”on Jünger’s thought; an in-depth analysis of Heidegger’s ontology of work as it relates to Jünger’s own conception of the gestalt of the worker and an explanation of Heidegger’s critique of Jünger as falling prey to the very metaphysical assumptions that Jünger seeks to undermine (Part II); and a defence of Jünger’s method and concept of language as non-metaphysical, against Heidegger’s critique, through a close reading of Jünger’s later works (Part III).

Full article: https://doi.org/10.1080/00071773.2019.1641315

Joel Bock, DePaul University, USA

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