Arnold Gehlen – Inadequacy and Technology

  • Fabio Grigenti
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Philosophy book series (BRIEFSPHILOSOPH)


In this chapter is discussed the “basic anthropology” of Arnold Gehlen. In this author the idea of the machine is connected to: (a) the concept of Mangel, which expresses not the mere absence of something, but a more complex condition of poverty and inadequacy. The organic deficiency relates to the being of the thing, rather than to any non-presence of certain properties. It is intended to reflect the core idea of non-specialization (Unspezialisierung); (b) the idea of Man as being not designed for any specific natural environment. He must constantly adapt to every living world he happens to encounter in nature. He relies primarily on a self-referential circuit of actions which, in the particular case of technological manipulation, takes the form of compensating for or substituting the missing organ. It is through integration, intensification and facilitation that tools and machines compensate for man’s natural organic shortcomings. In Gehlen’s anthropology machines are simply the exact reflection of our weaknesses, a sort of nature artificielle. The promotion/destruction of life by the great technological man is apparent from the increasingly.


Gehlen Man Inadequacy Organismus Compensation Protesis Nature artificielle 

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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabio Grigenti
    • 1
  1. 1.Università degli Studi di PadovaDipartimento di Filosofia Università degli Studi di PadovaPadovaItaly

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