You'll be graded on three basic criteria:

The third Bremen lecture lays out just how severe the problem is. While we have already seen how the essence of technology prevents us from encountering the reality of the world, now Heidegger points out that technology has the world (“world and positionality are the same”). Technology reigns, and we therefore forget being altogether and our own essential freedom — we no longer even realize the world we have lost. Ways of experiencing distance and time other than through the ever more precise neutral measuring with rulers and clocks become lost to us; they no longer seem to be types of knowing at all but are at most vague poetic representations. While many other critics of technology point to obvious dangers associated with it, Heidegger emphasizes a different kind of threat: the possibility that it may prevent us from experiencing “the call of a more primal truth.” The problem is not just that technology makes it harder for us to access that realm, but that it makes us altogether forget that the realm exists.

Here are some tips to make the process easier and more effective.

This is partly because they discuss abstract ideas that you're not accustomed to thinking about.

What is the structure of the article?

A corollary to this usage is to characterize as "philosophical" a specific attitude of acceptance, acquiescence, or submission to whatever happens, perhaps with some interpretive reason, as in "Jones took the news of his dismissal quite philosophically; he said that if the boss didn't want him there, it probably was a place where he wouldn't be happy working long anyway." Or "Smith took the news of the tragedy very philosophically; he said that was just the way life was sometimes and that you had to just accept it and go on or you would go crazy." Or "Johnson was philosophical about the tragedy, saying ‘We just have to trust in God to know what is best for all of us, even if it seems terribly sad at this time; it must all be for the best ultimately.'" This also is not related to philosophy in the sense of sustained, systematic, reflective analysis.

The articles we read won't always have a straightforward structure.

However, this response runs into problems, because...
A better response for the dualist says...
X might be tempted to counter as follows...

Sometimes it won't be obvious what the overall argument of the paper is supposed to be.

For example: "In this paper I will argue that....

A second direction that Heidegger gives us for properly situating technology is his novel understanding of human being. For Heidegger, the traits that make us human are connected to our openness to being and to what can be revealed, to our standing in a clearing where things can approach us meaningfully. One feature of this understanding is that Heidegger pays attention to the place of moods as well as of reason in allowing things to be intelligible. Another feature is his concern for the unity in meaning in what is and is not, in presence and absence. For instance, an absent friend impresses on us the possibility of friendship as much as one who stands before us.

The prose may be complicated, and you may need to pick the article apart sentence by sentence.

I think you ought to accept C for the following reasons...

If you do think you understand the position, but still think that it seems outrageous, be charitable and try to see if you can find good reasons why an intelligent person might hold such a position.

When you do figure out what the author's main conclusion is, try to restate it in your own words.

Sometimes he'll be supporting his view with a thought-experiment.

In normal usage, the terms "philosophy" and "philosophical" have a number of trivial meanings which have nothing to do with the academic subject of philosophy (or the slightly broader sense in which I use it here, that includes thinking more deeply and systematically about topics which may not be found in typical college philosophy department courses), so people tend to misunderstand what philosophy is, and see no point in studying it.

This will help you to be sure that you really understand what the author is arguing for.


The carpenter produces a table, but also a coffin.... [He] does not complete a box for a corpse. The coffin is from the outset placed in a privileged spot of the farmhouse where the dead peasant still lingers. There, a coffin is still called a “death-tree.” The death of the deceased flourishes in it. This flourishing determines the house and farmstead, the ones who dwell there, their kin, and the neighborhood. Everything is otherwise in the motorized burial industry of the big city. Here no death-trees are produced.