essential SAT revision
October 31, 2015


Section 7

Reading Comprehension


You have 10 minutes to complete this section. Read the following passage thoroughly, and then answer the following questions.

By introducing the concept of poiesis, and by unearthing the presence of the phenomenon in traditional artisanship, Heidegger is suggesting that even though technological thinking was a possibility in pre-modern society, it was neither the only nor the dominant mode of bringing-forth. So what has changed? Heidegger argues that what is distinctive about enframing as an ordaining of destining is (i) that it “drives out every other possibility of revealing” (Question Concerning Technology, pg 332), and (ii) that it covers up revealing as such (more precisely, covers up the concealing-unconcealing character of appropriation), thereby leaving us blind to the fact that technology is, in its essence, a clearing. For Heidegger, these dual features of enframing are intimately tied up with the idea of technology as metaphysics completing itself. He writes: “[a]s a form of truth [clearing] technology is grounded in the history of metaphysics, which is itself a distinctive and up to now the only perceptible phase of the history of Being” (Letter on Humanism, pg 244). According to Heidegger, metaphysics conceives of Being as a being. In so doing, metaphysics obscures the concealing-unconcealing dynamic of the essential unfolding of Being, a dynamic that provides the a priori condition for there to be beings. The history of metaphysics is thus equivalent to the history of Western philosophy in which Being as such is passed over, a history that, for Heidegger, culminates in the nihilistic forces of Nietzsche's eternally recurring will-to-power. The totalizing logic of metaphysics involves the view that there is a single clearing (whatever it may be) that constitutes reality. This renders thought insensitive to the fundamental structure of Being, in which any particular clearing is ontologically co-present with the unintelligible plenitude of alternative clearings, the mystery. With this totalizing logic in view, enframing might be thought of as the ordaining of destining that establishes the technological clearing as the one dominant picture, to the exclusion of all others. Hence technology is metaphysics completing itself.1


Question 1 Which statement best describes the author's opinion in this passage?

  1. Heidegger should be credited with the invention of poetry (poiesis).
  2. We will only be able to understand Heidegger when our technology is more advanced.
  3. Nietzsche's philosophy is better than Heidegger's.
  4. Neither Nietzsche nor Heidegger should be taken seriously because they were both dirty heathens.
  5. The author was forced by his father to become an academic when all he ever wanted to be as a young boy was a dancer.

Question 2 In sentence 6, what is meant by the phrase, "metaphysics concieves of Being as a being"?

  1. In being redundant, the author is making a joke.
  2. Metaphysics is belittling 'Being' by refusing to capitalize its first letter.
  3. 'Being' is a German word that we are not meant to understand.
  4. The author is demonstrating that Metaphysics is stupid because it does not know how to spell.
  5. The author is demonstrating that Heidegger is stupid because he does not know how to spell.

Question 3 In sentence 8, which word best replaces "will-to-power"?

  1. Twaddle
  2. Fascism
  3. Flatulence
  4. Erectile Dysfunction
  5. Need-To-Pee

Question 4 According to this passage, what is "enframing"?

  1. The process of protecting a picture and putting it on your wall at home.
  2. A euphemism for 'masturbating'.
  3. The Catholic Church's way of tricking you into giving them money.
  4. Blaming someone else for your sins in order to get into Heaven.
  5. The methodology by which pictures are preserved in Heaven.

Question 5 How do you think Heidegger would react if he read this passage?

  1. He would thoroughly enjoy it, and offer the author a small packet of chocolate for his troubles.
  2. He would spit on the paper in disgust.
  3. He would spit on the paper in disgust, tear it into small, tiny pieces, and throw them at the children skipping past on their way to school.
  4. He would spit on the paper in disgust, tear it into small, tiny pieces, and throw them at the children skipping past on their way to school, and then chase those children down the road covered in flour from his kitchen.
  5. This is a trick question; Heidegger cannot read.


  1. wheeler, michael. 'martin heidegger'. 'the stanford encyclopedia of philosophy' ed. edward n. zalta, url. http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2015/entries/heidegger/#Tec

author Lachlan Kermode

Written by Lachlan Kermode who lives and works in Princeton. You should check out his Resume, GitHub, or Twitter.