The highly sophisticated techniques of modern engineering are normally conceived of in practical terms. Corresponding to the instrumental function of technology, they are designed to direct the forces of nature according to human purposes. Yet, as soon as the realm of mere skills is exceeded, the intended useful results can only be achieved through planned and preconceived action processes involving the deliberately considered application of well designed tools and devices. This is to say that in all complex cases theoretical reasoning (...) becomes an indispensable means to accomplish the pragmatic technological aims. Hence the abstracting from the actual concrete function of technology opens the way to concentrate attention on the general conceptual framework involved. If this approach is adopted the relevant knowledge and the procedures applied clearly exhibit a logic of their own. This point of view leads to a methodological and even an epistemological analysis of the theoretical structure and the specific methods of procedure characteristic of modern technology. Investigations of this kind, that can be described as belonging to an ana lytical philosophy of technology, form the topic of this anthology. The type of research in question here is closely akin to that of the philosophy of science. But it is an astonishing fact that the commonly accepted and carefully investigated philosophy of science has not yet found its counterpart in an established philosophy of technology. (shrink)
The spread of new information and communications technologies during the past two decades has helped reshape civic associations, political communities, and global relations. In the midst of the information revolution, we find that the speed of this technology-driven change has outpaced our understanding of its social and ethical effects. The moral dimensions of this new technology and its effects on social bonds need to be questioned and scrutinized: Should the Internet be understood as a new form of public space and (...) a source of public good? What are we to make of hackers? Does the Internet strengthen or weaken community? In The Internet in Public Life, essayists confront these and other important questions. This timely and necessary volume makes clear the need for a broader conversation about the effects of the Internet, and the questions raised by these seven essays highlight some of the most pressing issues at hand. (shrink)
Technological change is often seen as something that follows its own logic -- something we may welcome, or about which we may protest, but which we are unable to alter fundamentally. This reader challenges that assumption and its distinguished contributors demonstrate that technology is affected at a fundamental level by the social context in which it develops. General arguments are introduced about the relation of technology to society and different types of technology are examined: the technology of production: domestic and (...) reproductive technology; and military technology. The book draws on authors from Karl Marx to Cynthia Cockburn to show that production technology is shaped by social relations in the workplace. It moves on to the technologies of the household and biological reproduction, which are topics that male-dominated social science has tended to ignore or trivialise -- though these are actually of crucial significance where powerful shaping factors are at work, normally unnoticed. The final section asks what shapes the most frightening technology of all -- the technology of weaponry, especially nuclear weapons. The editors argue that social scientists have devoted disproportionate attention to the effects of technology on society, and tended to ignore the more fundamental question of what shapes technology in the first place. They have drawn both on established work in the history and sociology of technology and on newer feminist perspectives to show just how important and fruitful it is to try to answer that deeper question. The first edition of this reader, published in 1985, had a considerable influence on thinking about the relationship between technology andsociety. This second edition has been thoroughly revised and expanded to take into account new research and the emergence of new theoretical perspectives. (shrink)
Virtual Realism is an art form and a way of living with technology. To explain it, Michael Heim draws on a hypertext of topics, from answering machines to interactive art, from engineering to television programs, from the meaning of UFOs to the Internet. The book begins with the primer 'VR 101'. The issues are discussed, then several chapters illustrate virtual realism with tours through art exhibits and engineering projects. Each chapter suggests a harmony of technology with lifestyle.
This sweeping introduction to the science of virtual environment technology masterfully integrates research and practical applications culled from a range of disciplines, including psychology, engineering, and computer science.
This book looks at the origins and the many contemporary meanings of the virtual. Rob Shields shows how the construction of virtual worlds has a long history. He examines the many forms of faith and hysteria that have surrounded computer technologies in recent years. Moving beyond the technologies themselves he shows how the virtual plays a role in our daily lives at every level. The virtual is also an essential concept needed to manage innovation and risk. It is real but (...) not actual, ideal but not abstract. The virtual, he argues, has become one of the key organizing principles of contemporary society in the public realms of politics, business and consumption as well as in our private lives. (shrink)
Readings in the Philosophy of Technology is a collection of the important works of both the forerunners of philosophy of technology and contemporary theorists, addressing a full range of topics on technology as it relates to ethics, politics, human nautre, computers, science, and the environment.
Can we use technology in the pursuit of a good life, or are we doomed to having our lives organized and our priorities set by the demands of machines and systems? How can philosophy help us to make technology a servant rather than a master? Technology and the Good Life? uses a careful collective analysis of Albert Borgmann's controversial and influential ideas as a jumping-off point from which to address questions such as these about the role and significance of technology (...) in our lives. Contributors both sympathetic and critical examine Borgmann's work, especially his "device paradigm" apply his theories to new areas such as film, agriculture, design, and ecological restoration and consider the place of his thought within philosophy and technology studies more generally. Because this collection carefully investigates the issues at the heart of how we can take charge of life with technology, it will be a landmark work not just for philosophers of technology but for students and scholars in the many disciplines concerned with science and technology studies. (shrink)
A philosophical and practical model for approaching the ethical challenges librarians are facing is provided in this work. The moral value of information is first examined, prompting a rethinking of librarians' understanding of professional neutrality and calling for them to broaden their role as community information specialists. Organizational ethics are next covered; the authors recommend specific management styles and values appropriate to libraries. This is followed by a critical analysis of the culture and tradition of librarianship, showing how the field (...) has reached its current identity and how its history can provide insights for new professional values. Practical recommendations for handling ethical problems in reference service, collection development and Internet access are then presented. (shrink)
Information and Communication Technologies have profoundly changed many aspects of life, including the nature of entertainment, work, communication, education, healthcare, industrial production and business, social relations and conflicts. They have had a radical and widespread impact on our moral lives and hence on contemporary ethical debates. The Cambridge Handbook of Information and Computer Ethics, first published in 2010, provides an ambitious and authoritative introduction to the field, with discussions of a range of topics including privacy, ownership, freedom of speech, responsibility, (...) technological determinism, the digital divide, cyber warfare, and online pornography. It offers an accessible and thoughtful survey of the transformations brought about by ICTs and their implications for the future of human life and society, for the evaluation of behaviour, and for the evolution of moral values and rights. It will be a valuable book for all who are interested in the ethical aspects of the information society in which we live. (shrink)
The relationship between cinema and technology is a complex and fascinating one. Andrew Utterson brings together key theoretical texts spanning more than a century of writing. He begins by investigating cinema as technology or as an interconnected series of technologies, then goes on to examine the technological history of cinema within a much broader context: as one element in a sustained period of technological expansion, cinematic or otherwise, and its impact on the wider world. Rather than seeing technologies in traditional (...) mechanical terms, this reader explores by way of the moving image the various cultural, social, political, economic and ideological dimensions that are essential to an understanding of technology. Students taking courses on cinema and media technologies will find this an ideal introduction to the wealth of writing and research in the field. (shrink)
This book comprises revised full versions of lectures given during the 9th European Summer School in Logic, Languages, and Information, ESSLLI'97, held in Aix-en-Provence, France, in August 1997. The six lectures presented introduce the reader to the state of the art in the area of generalized quantifiers and computation. Besides an introductory survey by the volume editor various aspects of generalized quantifiers are studied in depth.
Philosophy and Computing explores each of the following areas of technology: the digital revolution; the computer; the Internet and the Web; CD-ROMs and Mulitmedia; databases, textbases, and hypertexts; Artificial Intelligence; the future of computing. Luciano Floridi shows us how the relationship between philosophy and computing provokes a wide range of philosophical questions: is there a philosophy of information? What can be achieved by a classic computer? How can we define complexity? What are the limits of quantam computers? Is the Internet (...) an intellectual space or a polluted environment? What is the paradox in the Strong Artificial Intelligence program? Philosophy and Computing is essential reading for anyone wishing to fully understand both the development and history of information and communication technology as well as the philosophical issues it ultimately raises. (shrink)
A classic source for understanding the connections between information theory and physics, this text was written by one of the giants of 20th-century physics and is appropriate for upper-level undergraduates and graduate students. Topics include the principles of coding, coding problems and solutions, the analysis of signals, a summary of thermodynamics, thermal agitation and Brownian motion, and thermal noise in an electric circuit. A discussion of the negentropy principle of information introduces the author's renowned examination of Maxwell's demon. Concluding chapters (...) explore the associations between information theory, the uncertainty principle, and physical limits of observation, in addition to problems related to computing, organizing information, and inevitable errors. 1962 ed. 81 figures. 14 tables. (shrink)
Introduction: human instability -- Architecture and philosophy : mutation of the human -- The contemporary destabilization of humanity and the impasse of philosophy -- The vanishing universal -- In human place : the inhuman, the dehumanized and the nonhuman -- Sport : the planetary manufacture of dehumanization -- Biodoxacracy, strategy of dehumanization -- Conclusion: man of war in times of peace and the challenge of culture.
Ideal for undergraduate students in philosophy and science studies, Philosophy of Technology offers an engaging and comprehensive overview of a subject vital to our time. An up-to-date, accessible overview of the philosophy of technology, defining technology and its characteristics. Explores the issues that arise as technology becomes an integral part of our society. In addition to traditional topics in science and technology studies, the volume offers discussion of technocracy, the romantic rebellion against technology. Complements The Philosophy of Technology : The (...) Technological Condition: An Anthology, edited by Robert C. Scharff and Val Dusek. (shrink)
Who are we, and how do we relate to each other? Luciano Floridi, one of the leading figures in contemporary philosophy, argues that the explosive developments in Information and Communication Technologies is changing the answer to these fundamental human questions. As the boundaries between life online and offline break down, and we become seamlessly connected to each other and surrounded by smart, responsive objects, we are all becoming integrated into an "infosphere". Personas we adopt in social media, for example, feed (...) into our 'real' lives so that we begin to live, as Floridi puts in, "onlife". Following those led by Copernicus, Darwin, and Freud, this metaphysical shift represents nothing less than a fourth revolution. "Onlife" defines more and more of our daily activity - the way we shop, work, learn, care for our health, entertain ourselves, conduct our relationships; the way we interact with the worlds of law, finance, and politics; even the way we conduct war. In every department of life, ICTs have become environmental forces which are creating and transforming our realities. How can we ensure that we shall reap their benefits? What are the implicit risks? Are our technologies going to enable and empower us, or constrain us? Floridi argues that we must expand our ecological and ethical approach to cover both natural and man-made realities, putting the 'e' in an environmentalism that can deal successfully with the new challenges posed by our digital technologies and information society. (shrink)
In this extraordinary introduction to the study of the philosophy of technology, Andrew Feenberg argues that techonological design is central to the social and political structure of modern societies. Environmentalism, information technology, and medical advances testify to technology's crucial importance. In his lucid and engaging style, Feenberg shows that technology is the medium of daily life. Every major technical changes reverberates at countless levels: economic, political, and cultural. If we continue to see the social and technical domains as being seperate, (...) then we are essentially denying an integral part of our existence, and our place in a democratic society. Questioning Tecchnology convinces us that it is vital that we learn more about technology the better to live with it and to manage it. (shrink)
The use of technology and teaching techniques derived from technology is currently a bourgeoning topic in higher education. Teachers at all levels and types of institutions want to know how these new technologies will affect what happens in and outside of the classroom. Many teachers have already embraced some of these technologies but remain uncertain about their educational efficacy. Other teachers have waited because they are reluctant to try tools or techniques that remain unproven or, as is often the case, (...) lack institutional support. This book is designed to help both groups, so that those with technological expertise can extend their knowledge, while technological novices can "ramp up" at their own pace and for their own purposes. Best Practices for Technology-Enhanced Teaching and Learning brings together expert teacher-scholars who apply and assess technology's impact on traditional, hybrid or blended, or completely on-line courses, relying on technology as a teaching tool for classroom management and interaction, as well as student-based uses of technology largely independent of instructors. Each chapter will address how technological improvements can be connected to assessment initiatives, as is now routinely advocated in psychology and social science education. The book features current scholarship and pedagogy involving innovative technology that impacts on student learning in psychology and related disciplines, focusing also on student reactions to these novel technologies, and proper assessments of how well they promote learning. This text will serve as the standard reference on emerging technologies for undergraduate instructors. (shrink)
Trust is essential to human society and the good life. At the same time, citizens of developed countries spend more and more time in virtual environments. This collection asks how far virtual environments, especially those affiliated with -Web 2.0-, challenge and foster trust? <BR> The book's early chapters establish historical, linguistic, and philosophical foundations for key concepts of trust, embodiment, virtuality, and virtual worlds. Four philosophers then analyze how trust - historically interwoven with embodied co-presence - may be enhanced through (...) online environments. Final contributions tackle the specific challenges of virtual child pornography and democratic deliberation online. <BR> This is the first collection devoted exclusively to the philosophical dimensions of trust and virtual worlds. It helps bring the reader up to date on the relevant concepts and issues, and on ways in which widely ranging insights and approaches may nonetheless cohere into a reasonably comprehensive account of trust.". (shrink)
There are many algorithm texts that provide lots of well-polished code and proofs of correctness. Instead, this book presents insights, notations, and analogies to help the novice describe and think about algorithms like an expert. By looking at both the big picture and easy step-by-step methods for developing algorithms, the author helps students avoid the common pitfalls. He stresses paradigms such as loop invariants and recursion to unify a huge range of algorithms into a few meta-algorithms. Part of the goal (...) is to teach the students to think abstractly. Without getting bogged with formal proofs, the book fosters a deeper understanding of how and why each algorithm works. These insights are presented in a slow and clear manner accessible to second- or third-year students of computer science, preparing them to find their own innovative ways to solve problems. (shrink)
Contents: The Sportive Origin of the State – Unity and Diversity of Europe – Man the Technician – History as a System. Translation of "El origen deportivo del Estado"; (1924); "Prólogo para franceses" (1937); and Meditación de la técnica (1939). "History as a System" was published originally in English in Philosophy and History: Essays Presented to Ernst Cassirer. Edited by Raymond Klibansky and H. J. Paton. Oxford: at the Clarendon Press (London, H. Milford), 1936, pp. 283-322.
Nicholas Rescher examines a number of controversial social issues using the intellectual tools of the philosopher, in an attempt to clarify some of the complexities of modern society, technology, and economics. He elucidates his thoughts on topics such as: whether technological progress leads to greater happiness; environmental problems; endangered species, costly scientific research on the frontiers of knowledge, medical/moral issues on the preservation of life; and crime and justice, among others.
What can computers do in principle? What are their inherent theoretical limitations? These are questions to which computer scientists must address themselves. The theoretical framework which enables such questions to be answered has been developed over the last fifty years from the idea of a computable function: intuitively a function whose values can be calculated in an effective or automatic way. This book is an introduction to computability theory (or recursion theory as it is traditionally known to mathematicians). Dr Cutland (...) begins with a mathematical characterisation of computable functions using a simple idealised computer (a register machine); after some comparison with other characterisations, he develops the mathematical theory, including a full discussion of non-computability and undecidability, and the theory of recursive and recursively enumerable sets. The later chapters provide an introduction to more advanced topics such as Gildel's incompleteness theorem, degrees of unsolvability, the Recursion theorems and the theory of complexity of computation. Computability is thus a branch of mathematics which is of relevance also to computer scientists and philosophers. Mathematics students with no prior knowledge of the subject and computer science students who wish to supplement their practical expertise with some theoretical background will find this book of use and interest. (shrink)
The technological advances of contemporary society have outpaced our moral understanding of the problems that they create. How will we deal with profound ecological changes, human cloning, hybrid people, and eroding cyberprivacy, just to name a few issues? In this book, Lorenzo Magnani argues that existing moral constructs often cannot be applied to new technology. He proposes an entirely different ethical approach, one that blends epistemology with cognitive science. The resulting moral strategy promises renewed dignity for overlooked populations, both of (...) today and of the future. (shrink)
This book is dedicated to a classic presentation of the theory of computable functions in the context of the foundations of mathematics. Part I motivates the study of computability with discussions and readings about the crisis in the foundations of mathematics in the early 20th century, while presenting the basic ideas of whole number, function, proof, and real number. Part II starts with readings from Turing and Post leading to the formal theory of recursive functions. Part III presents sufficient formal (...) logic to give a full development of Gödel's incompleteness theorems. Part IV considers the significance of the technical work with a discussion of Church's Thesis and readings on the foundations of mathematics. This new edition contains the timeline "Computability and Undecidability" as well as the essay "On mathematics". (shrink)
The first half of the book concentrates on key definitions and epistemological issues, including an overview of philosophy as applied to technology, a definition of technology, and an examination of technology as it relates to practical and ...
Against Nature – Chapter Abstracts Chapter 1. A Transdisciplinary Approach. In this short book you will find philosophy – metaphysical and political - economics, critical theory, complexity theory, ecology, sociology, journalism, and much else besides, along with the signposts and reference texts of the Information Systems field. Such transdisciplinarity is a challenge for both author and reader. Such books are often problematic: sections that are just old hat to one audience are by contrast completely new and difficult to another. My (...) hope is that in the interconnections, arguments and thrust of this polemic, readers will discover both interest and insight, alongside a range of new avenues to explore. This introductory chapter sets the scene – today’s digital world of Tech Giants and Fake News, its roots in the philosophical arguments of the 1920s, and the book’s key claims: (i) that the early 20th century philosophical grounding of today’s digital revolution is culpable in digital’s (growing) contribution to the ecological catastrophe unfolding in the 21st century; (ii) that process philosophy offers a new way to rethink that philosophical grounding, and reshape the digital revolution to support strategies to counter that catastrophe. Chapter 2. The Problem with Digital. This chapter begins with a brief overview of the research approaches in information systems as an academic field, before turning to the deeper roots of its malaise, in individualism, and its looming consequences. The three branches of Information Systems research, in academia, prove to be a useful lens through which to understand the field: Positivism, Interpretivism, and the Critical stance taken by this book. The ‘scientism’ at the root of positivism is examined, and the positivism in Information Systems critiqued as a historically contingent response to the ascendancy of a new brand of economics in Business Schools after the Second World War. But the computational market-fundamentalist form of economics sponsored in the 1950s (and applied by governments since the 1970s) centred around notions of the individual rational actor as an information processor. The philosophical underpinning of methodological and possessive individualism in this approach is exposed, and its influence upon the development – long before computing – of the science of ecology, and our notion of ecosystems, introduced. Chapter 3. The Future Does Not Exist. The philosophical core of the book, this chapter introduces process philosophy. Through an examination of the irreversible reality of subjectivity, Bergson’s famous notion of the durée reélle, and Whitehead’s critique of the bifurcation of subject and object, are introduced. The causally closed ‘time’ of positive science determines existence from the beginning to the end of the universe, be it three seconds or three trillion years. But the reality, of course, is that the future does not exist: our choices are real, and only one of myriad potential futures comes into being at each moment. As Bergson insists, durational succession exists, I am conscious of it; it is a fact. Bergson’s star – once the brightest of any living philosopher in the world – faded almost as quickly as it rose, under the onslaught from the logical positivists whose verificationism insisted that any proposition has no factual meaning if no evidence of observation can count for or against it: all ethics, aesthetics, romance, and metaphysics – and the very subjectivity with which duration is experienced - were thus closed down and dismissed. In this chapter it is reintroduced, to a new audience. Chapter 4. The World in a New Light. Many fundamental problems in the world can be seen as resulting from the false philosophy of bifurcation, fixity, and the reification of abstractions critiqued by process philosophy. Being – with all the isolation and focus upon the individual that it entails – must, if we are to address these problems, be seen as secondary to Becoming, with all the connection, interrelatedness, and complex collectivity that it implies. Choices become clearer, between positivism and interpretivism, between accents upon individualism or collectivism, between reductionist and complex adaptive systems approaches. The systemic individualism in Anglo-American societies can be regarded as actually harmful: the Tech Giants severing ties and bonds rather than connecting us; algebraic ecological models actually breaking the co-dependencies and co-requisites upon which real – complex - ecological health depends. Positivism, built as it is upon methodological individualism, seen in the light of process philosophy, becomes a danger to personal psychological balance – cutting us off from one another; a danger to the social fabric – undermining and impoverishing our civic life; and a danger to the ecological health of the planet – ignoring the immense (eco)systemic impact of our activities over the last centuries upon everything around us in the natural world. Chapter 5. A Theoretical Manifesto for Green IT. We are not islands, and in a process-relational social organisation much must be held in common. We are individuals, but we cannot survive alone. Four different perspectives on individualism show it to be little more than greed. An ecological economics reintegrating the household, the social, the supportive State, and – crucially – the life-giving earth into our polities is introduced and promoted. I introduce the concept of ‘Infomateriality’ – a non-bifurcated digital world where the physical bodies of people - fingers touching keyboards and eyes scanning screens - are as much ‘hardware’ as cabling, circuitboards and haptic interfaces, and the social practices, power relations, and embedded politics within IT artefacts define all such techné as fundamentally social. Abstract divisions are false, and whole, socially embedded systems should be the focus of IS, and from a philosophically and sociologically much deeper perspective. ‘Tech for Good’ is held up as movement in the right direction. My hope is that this book will help promote action, in the field of information systems, toward a better world, where Green Tech for Good is deployed for Nature, rather than against it. (shrink)
The rapid developments in technologies -- especially computing and the advent of many 'smart' devices, as well as rapid and perpetual communication via the Internet -- has led to a frequently voiced view which Nicholas Agar describes as 'radical optimism'. Radical optimists claim that accelerating technical progress will soon end poverty, disease, and ignorance, and improve our happiness and well-being. Agar disputes the claim that technological progress will automatically produce great improvements in subjective well-being. He argues that radical optimism 'assigns (...) to technological progress an undeserved pre-eminence among all the goals pursued by our civilization'. Instead, Agar uses the most recent psychological studies about human perceptions of well-being to create a realistic model of the impact technology will have. Although he accepts that technological advance does produce benefits, he insists that these are significantly less than those proposed by the radical optimists, and aspects of such progress can also pose a threat to values such as social justice and our relationship with nature, while problems such as poverty cannot be understood in technological terms. He concludes by arguing that a more realistic assessment of the benefits that technological advance can bring will allow us to better manage its risks in future. (shrink)
The Matrix trilogy is unique among recent popular films in that it is constructed around important philosophical questions--classic questions which have fascinated philosophers and other thinkers for thousands of years. Editor Christopher Grau here presents a collection of new, intriguing essays about some of the powerful and ancient questions broached by The Matrix and its sequels, written by some of the most prominent and reputable philosophers working today. They provide intelligent, accessible, and thought-provoking examinations of the philosophical issues that support (...) the films. Philosophers Explore The Matrix includes an introduction that surveys the use of philosophical ideas in the film. Topics that the contributors tackle include: how a collaborative dream could differ from hallucination, the difference between the Matrix and the "real" world; why living in the Matrix would be considered "bad"; the similarities between the Matrix and Plato's Cave; the moral status of artificially created beings, whether one can behave immorally in illusory circumstances, and the true nature of free will and responsibility. This volume also includes an appendix of classic philosophical writing on these issues by Plato, Berkeley, Descartes, Putnam, and Nozick. Philosophers Explore The Matrix will fascinate any fan of the films who wants to delve deeper into their themes, as well as any student of philosophy who desires an accessible entry into this challenging and profoundly vital world of ideas. (shrink)
Introduces contemporary American philosophy of technology through six of its leading figures. The six American philosophers of technology whose work is profiled in this clear and concise introduction to the field—Albert Borgmann, Hubert Dreyfus, Andrew Feenberg, Donna Haraway, Don Ihde, and Langdon Winner—represent a new, empirical direction in the philosophical study of technology that has developed mainly in North America. In place of the grand philosophical schemes of the classical generation of European philosophers of technology, the contemporary American generation addresses (...) concrete technological practices and the co-evolution of technology and society in modern culture. Six Dutch philosophers associated with Twente University survey and critique the full scope and development of their American colleagues’ work, often illustrating shifts from earlier to more recent interests. Individual chapters focus on Borgmann’s engagement with technology and everyday life; Dreyfus’s work on the limits of artificial intelligence; Feenberg’s perspectives on the cultural and social possibilities opened by technologies; Haraway’s conception of the cyborg and its attendant blurring of boundaries; Ihde’s explorations of the place of technology in the lifeworld; and Winner’s fascination with the moral and political implications of modern technologies. American Philosophy of Technology offers an insightful and readable introduction to this new and distinctly American philosophical turn. Contributors are Hans Achterhuis, Philip Brey, René Munnik, Martijntje Smits, Pieter Tijmes, and Peter-Paul Verbeek. (shrink)
As space satellites orbit the earth on a regular basis and scientists find more sophisticated ways to splice genes, we are all faced with the responsiblity of reconciling the lengths to which technology must comply with morality. This book presents a variety of moral controversies of concern in this day and age of technological advancement. The contributors study a wide range of relevant topics such as: current technological development and the ethical inquiries it prompts; risk-cost benefit analysis and other assessment (...) methods; freedom of information and national security, and university-corporate research agreements; national and international technology transfers; and, technology policy-making typologies. The current controversies examined draw from information, gene-splicing, health care, space, energy, and material technologies. (shrink)
In this new collection of essays, Andrew Feenberg argues that conflicts over the design and organization of the technical systems that structure our society shape deep choices for the future. A pioneer in the philosophy of technology, Feenberg demonstrates the continuing vitality of the critical theory of the Frankfurt School. He calls into question the anti-technological stance commonly associated with its theoretical legacy and argues that technology contains potentialities that could be developed as the basis for an alternative form of (...) modern society. Feenberg's critical reflections on the ideas of Jürgen Habermas, Herbert Marcuse, Jean-François Lyotard, and Kitaro Nishida shed new light on the philosophical study of technology and modernity. He contests the prevalent conception of technology as an unstoppable force responsive only to its own internal dynamic and politicizes the discussion of its social and cultural construction. This argument is substantiated in a series of compelling and well-grounded case studies. Through his exploration of science fiction and film, AIDS research, the French experience with the "information superhighway," and the Japanese reception of Western values, he demonstrates how technology, when subjected to public pressure and debate, can incorporate ethical and aesthetic values. (shrink)
Computational methods have become the dominant technique in many areas of science. This book contains the first systematic philosophical account of these new methods and their consequences for scientific method. This book will be of interest to philosophers of science and to anyone interested in the role played by computers in modern science.
In this thought provoking work Thomas DeGregori presents the uncommon premise that technology is a human endeavour and a positive force that defines our humanity. Examining a number of revolutionary technological advances in this century, especially those in the agricultural areas, the author debunks common conventional wisdom that would dictate otherwise. For instance, the use of chemicals, including DDT and other pesticides, id often maligned as damaging the environment and the quality of life. Dr DeGregori counters this argument with documentation (...) that demonstrates how use of these chemicals has actually increased life span. Agriculture and Modern Technology will prompt readers to re-examine current popular belief in technology. (shrink)
The interplay between computability and randomness has been an active area of research in recent years, reflected by ample funding in the USA, numerous workshops, and publications on the subject. The complexity and the randomness aspect of a set of natural numbers are closely related. Traditionally, computability theory is concerned with the complexity aspect. However, computability theoretic tools can also be used to introduce mathematical counterparts for the intuitive notion of randomness of a set. Recent research shows that, conversely, concepts (...) and methods originating from randomness enrich computability theory.The book covers topics such as lowness and highness properties, Kolmogorov complexity, betting strategies and higher computability. Both the basics and recent research results are desribed, providing a very readable introduction to the exciting interface of computability and randomness for graduates and researchers in computability theory, theoretical computer science, and measure theory. (shrink)
Marshall McLuhan died on the last day of 1980, on the doorstep of the personal computer revolution. Yet McLuhan's ideas anticipated a world of media in motion, and its impact on our lives on the dawn of the new millennium. Paul Levinson examines why McLuhan's theories about media are more important to us today than when they were first written, and why the _Wired_ generation is now turning to McLuhan's work to understand the global village in the digital age.