In recent decades, the Greek theory of techne has been known to a literary critical audience primarily through Heidegger’s essay “The Origin of the Work of Art.” Heidegger promotes the notion that for the Greeks, techne (“art” or “craft”) was not the active work of a willing, intentional subject, but rather an “allowing” of the upsurge of creation that the Greeks knew as physis, “nature.” In the present essay I show, first, that Aristotle in fact describes techne not as the allowing of natural creation but as the imparting of form on matter by a craftsman’s physical transmission of motion to tools, a transmission informed by the techne-knowledge of means and ends; and, second, I show how Luk´cs’s late account of the evolution of the labor process can be articulated with Aristotle’s account to produce a historicized, materialist theory of techne.


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pp. 43-64
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