Heidegger, Foucault, and an Affordance Theory of Technology

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy



First Advisor

Remmon E. Barbaza, PhD


Current philosophies of technology exemplified by Ihde’s Postphenomenology and Feenberg’s Critical Theory of Technology have favored a focus on technological design issues, leaving unexamined the question concerning technology and consequently, succumbing to an instrumental view of it. These developments have contributed to an obliviousness to technology’s inherent dangers which are precisely immune from technological design modifications. It is within this context that this study outlines an affordance theory of technology, philosophically developed from a dialogue between Heidegger’s and Foucault’s critiques. It argues that such a theory holds much relevance in making these dangers ostensible. More specifically, this study advances that the construal of the technological specifically as affordance entails not only the cognizance of the dazzling extension and improvement of human capacities provided by technologies; but more importantly, it also includes alertness to the threats that are concomitant with the extension and enhancement of those capacities. These dangers, as this study’s joint employment of Heidegger’s phenomenological analysis and Foucault’s genealogical examination reveal, are the technological’s disposition towards an ontological dispensation of and the subjectivation of human beings as resource.

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