I am reading Heidegger, and he uses Gestell, which is frame, but he uses it as a verb, "enframing" (which translates to Umrahmung). This is rooted in "Rahmen".

Which is the best word for the phrase "enframing is danger" ?

  • 6
    Can you edit your question and add some context, in particular the sentence that you read?
    – Robert
    Nov 13 '18 at 5:07
  • 2
    A Gestell is a three-dimensional frame. Something that isn't flat. Hence the name, you can hinstellen == put it standing somewhere.
    – Janka
    Nov 13 '18 at 6:49
  • "Umrahmung" is not a verb, but a noun, which suggests that "enframing" (in that context) may as well be a noun. The corresponding verb would be "umrahmen". Nov 13 '18 at 8:05
  • With that said, and after skimming through a few texts to see what "enframing" is about in the context of said author, let me say that to me as a native speaker, using "Gestell" sounds really weird. Besides the physical object, "Rahmen" and derived words are commonly used in a figurative sense, but a "Gestell" is rarely, if ever, anything but a physical object, something like a stand or a support. Nov 13 '18 at 8:10
  • 3
    If Heidegger invents a new term and that term is translated to English, you cannot just translate that back to German and expect it to make sense. Are you reading Heidegger in German or in English? I really do not understand your question.
    – Carsten S
    Nov 13 '18 at 9:45

Heidegger is known to be extremely creative with the usage of terminology, he commonly takes standard terms and puts them in a specific contextual meaning in his works, but with a strong tendency to neglect the definition. Sometimes, you are actually better off to just call the term 'x' instead of looking for any meaning in the word itself outside of Heidegger's works. There is a saying that goes like:

Heidegger hatte die ärgerliche Gewohnheit, deutsch zu sprechen

(Leaving the annoying task of being expected to understand what he meant to the poor German-speaking world)

I am not sure if it makes a lot of sense to translate such terms in Heidegger's works - And if yes, you should use standard translations - Typically, Gestell in Heidegger's works is translated to enframing (the substantive). So no, he doesn't use it as a verb. Gestell does not have a closely associated verb in German (so it is a bit misleading that translators seem to have agreed upon a substantiation of a verb in the English translations).

So your translation should simply be

Das Gestell ist eine Gefahr

(Which doesn't make a lot of sense without context to me)

  • +1 for everything on Heidegger. Just want to mention that there is actually a verb (sich) gestellen, which is probably mostly used in its substantivation Gestellung. See duden.de/rechtschreibung/Gestellung This is very probably not relevant in this context - because it does not relate to Gestell, which is derived from the verb stellen, but just in case, the Heidegger text in question is not referring to Gestell, but to gestellen, this could be a lead to follow if you are searching for the reason why Heidegger used that particular word. Nov 13 '18 at 14:25

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