Was heißt denken? This is the intriguing question that Martin Heidegger posed in the 1950s. It is famous for its double meaning: what is called thinking? and what calls for thinking? In fact, Heidegger concludes, it is always that which is unthinkable (at a specific moment in time) that calls for thinking. And only the thinking that engages with this unthinkable is worthy of being called “thinking”.
In times of “knowledge production”, “information overload” and “artificial intelligence” it seems that it is this very idea of thinking which is becoming unthinkable. More and more “thinking” is done by nonhumans (computers, programmes, networks, smart devices and environments etc.). In these supposedly “posthuman” or “posthumanst” times, I was just thinking… what exactly is being lost (or gained) when human (and animal?) thinking is increasingly being “outsourced” or done “in connection with” smart devices or environments?
Just thinking also has a double meaning: it refers to the “spur of the moment”, the unpredicatbility of thinking. But it also refers to justice – and justice, which can only be done through careful thinking, by questioning the very foundations of everything, without exception. Nothing is obvious, nothing is safe.
So here are some thoughts: