Larry Hickman: Philosophical Tools for Technological Culture. Putting Pragmatism to Work (2001)

24 December 2009, dusan

A practical and comprehensive appraisal of the value of philosophy in today’s technological culture.

Philosophical Tools for Technological Culture contends that technology—a defining mark of contemporary culture—should be a legitimate concern of philosophers. Larry A. Hickman contests the perception that philosophy is little more than a narrow academic discipline and that philosophical discourse is merely redescription of the ancient past. Drawing inspiration from John Dewey, one of America’s greatest public philosophers, Hickman validates the role of philosophers as cultural critics and reformers in the broadest sense. Hickman situates Dewey’s critique of technological culture within the debates of 20th-century Western philosophy by engaging the work of Richard Rorty, Albert Borgmann, Jacques Ellul, Walter Benjamin, Jürgen Habermas, and Martin Heidegger, among others. Pushing beyond their philosophical concerns, Hickman designs and assembles a set of philosophical tools to cope with technological culture in a new century. His pragmatic treatment of current themes—such as technology and its relationship to the arts, technosciences and technocrats, the role of the media in education, and the meaning of democracy and community life in an age dominated by technology—reveals that philosophy possesses powerful tools for cultural renewal. This original, timely, and accessible work will be of interest to readers seeking a deeper understanding of the meanings and consequences of technology in today’s world.

Publisher Indiana University Press, 2001
The Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Technology
ISBN 0253338697, 9780253338693
215 pages

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PDF (updated on 2013-6-3)

Ronald E. Day: The Modern Invention of Information: Discourse, History, and Power (2001)

10 November 2009, dusan

“Ronald E. Day provides a historically informed critical analysis of the concept and politics of information in the twentieth century. Analyzing texts in Europe and the United States, his critical reading method goes beyond traditional historiographical readings of communication and information by engaging specific historical texts in terms of their attempts to construct and reshape history.

After laying the groundwork and justifying his method of close reading for this study, Day examines the texts of two pre-World War II documentalists, Paul Otlet and Suzanne Briet. Through the work of Otlet and Briet, Day shows how documentation and information were associated with concepts of cultural progress. Day also discusses the social expansion of the conduit metaphor in the works of Warren Weaver and Norbert Wiener. He then shows how the work of contemporary French multimedia theorist Pierre Lévy refracts the earlier philosophical writings of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari through the prism of the capitalist understanding of the “virtual society.”

Turning back to the pre-World War II period, Day examines two critics of the information society: Martin Heidegger and Walter Benjamin. He explains Heidegger’s philosophical critique of the information culture’s model of language and truth as well as Benjamin’s aesthetic and historical critique of mass information and communication. Day concludes by contemplating the relation of critical theory and information, particularly in regard to the information culture’s transformation of history, historiography, and historicity into positive categories of assumed and represented knowledge.”

Publisher SIU Press, 2001
ISBN 0809323907, 9780809323906
152 pages


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Christopher Prendergast (ed.): Cultural Materialism: On Raymond Williams (1995)

6 August 2009, dusan

The work of Raymond Williams is of seminal importance in rethinking the idea of culture. He is widely regarded as one of the founding figures of international cultural studies. In tribute to his legacy, this edited volume is devoted to his theories of cultural materialism and is the most substantial and wide-ranging collection of essays on his work to be offered since his death in 1988. For all readers grappling with Williams’s complex legacy, this volume is not to be missed.

Contributors: Stanley Aronowitz, John Brenkman, Peter de Bolla, Catherine Gallagher, Stephen Heath, John Higgins, Peter Hitchcock, Cora Kaplan, David Lloyd, Robert Miklitsch, Michael Moriarty, Morag Shiach, David Simpson, Gillian Skirrow, Kenneth Surin, Paul Thomas, Gauri Viswanathan, and Cornel West.

Publisher University of Minnesota Press, 1995
ISBN 0816622809, 9780816622801
387 pages

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PDF (updated on 2012-9-3)