Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Philosophy

Committee Chair

Albert Borgmann

Commitee Members

Cara Nelson, Deborah Slicer


Enchantment, Heidegger, Orientation, Placement, Technology, Wonder


University of Montana


This thesis gives an account of the ontological basis of the profound sense of disorientation in contemporary society and attempts to discover through a phenomenological account of orienting experience that which holds the possibility of authentic orientation in reality. Martin Heidegger’s understanding of “being-in-the-world,” the “there” of Dasein, and the epochal revealing of reality as resources in modern technological society is the philosophical backdrop for the thesis. This philosophical foundation is elaborated upon by showing that the challenging-revealing of the real as resources within the “framework” of technology results in the ontological “dis-traction” of reality. This dis-traction pulls apart the fabric of reality resulting in a discontinuous, homogenized, horizon of fungible entities available as resources and commodities for the satisfaction of human needs and desires. The character of dis-tracted reality is disclosed in displacement and disenchantment. Reality is displaced in the sense that as resources and commodities everything is neither near nor far—rather, all things are in a strange sense distanceless—at no place. Further, reality is disenchanted in the original sense that things as resources and commodities no longer “sing from within.” They can no longer speak to us in their own right because they no longer have any independent standing apart from their dependent status as resources and commodities. Careful phenomenological attention to concrete experiences of place and enchantment in our everyday lives discloses the promise of re-engagement with and authentic orientation in reality. The thesis concludes with reflections on the essential task of philosophy: to reawaken us in wonder to an enchanted world that in its independence speaks to us and to which we appropriately respond.



© Copyright 2010 Patrick Maurice Burke