Lao-Zhuang and Heidegger on Nature and Technology


GRAHAM PARKES, Professor, Department of Philosophy, University College Cork. Specialties: comparative philosophy (Europe and East Asia), environmental philosophies, aesthetics. E-mail:


Many of our current environmental problems stem from damage to the natural world through excessive use of modern technologies. Since these problems are now global in scope, it is helpful to take a comparative philosophical approach—in this case by way of Laozi, Zhuangzi, and Martin Heidegger. Heidegger's thoughts on these topics are quite consonant with classical Daoist thinking, in part because he was influenced by it. Although Zhuangzi and Heidegger warn against the ways technology can impair rather than promote human flourishing, they are not simply anti-technological in their thinking. Both rather recommend a critical stance that would allow us to shift to a more reflective employment of less disruptive technologies.