This paper traces the theoretical background to the split between function and meaning in the modernity theories of Marx, Lukács, Weber and Marcuse. It then discusses attempts to overcome the split in the recent philosophies of technology of Simpson and Borgmann. These attempts fail but help to focus the issue. A discussion of contemporary struggles over information technology offers a more hopeful perspective on a possible resolution of the split and suggests a new look at Heidegger’s phenomenology of action. The conclusion of the paper shows that Heidegger offers resources for addressing the relation of function and meaning which he himself did not develop.