Stiegler argues that "technics" forms the horizon of human existence. This fact has been suppressed throughout the history of philosophy, which has never ceased to operate on the basis of a distinction between episteme and tekhne. The thesis of the book is that the genesis of technics corresponds not only to the genesis of what is called "human" but of temporality as such, and that this is the clue toward understanding the future of the dynamic process in which the human and the technical consists.
Part I conducts a reading of approaches to the history of technology and the origin of hominisation, in particular by André Leroi-Gourhan, Gilbert Simondon, and Bertrand Gille. The outcome of this reading is the thought that history cannot be thought according to the idea that humanity is the "subject" of this history and technology simply the object. When it comes to the relation between the human and the technical, the "who" and the "what" are in an undecidable relation.
Part II is largely a reading of the work of Martin Heidegger in terms of the above consideration. Stiegler argues that Heidegger's philosophy fails adequately to grasp that, if there is such a thing as authentic temporality, the only access to it can be via objects, artefacts and, in general, technics, without which access to the past and future is impossible as such. Crucial to Stiegler's formulation of his understanding of humanity, technology, and time, is his reading of the myth of Prometheus.
Stiegler published three volumes in the Technics and Time series. The Fault of Epimetheus was followed by Tome 2: La désorientation (1996) and Tome 3: Le temps du cinéma et la question du mal-être (2001). Volume Two was published in translation by Stanford University Press in 2008 with the subtitle, Disorientation. Volume Three appeared in 2010 with the subtitle, Cinematic Time and the Question of Malaise (both volumes translated by Stephen Barker).