This book is an anthology of current and classic readings in the philosophy of technology, with a focus on critical evaluations.
From the PREFACE: The phenomenon of technology is at once fascinating and troublesome. With us since the dawn of mankind, it has come to utterly pervade our lives. Conventional wisdom has it that technology exists only to serve our needs, and to better our lives. And yet there is a sense in which our lives are not really getting ‘better’ at all. In fact, many have the feeling that life is becoming more difficult, more demanding, more stressful, and less satisfying.
Since technology is perpetually increasing in power, reach, and affordability, why are our lives not correspondingly better than ever? Why are environmental problems not quickly and permanently resolved? Why do hunger, disease, hardship, and suffering persist around the world? Why are we not on an unambiguously upward path, one in which life is always becoming richer, more fulfilling, healthier, and happier?
There is this lingering sense in which technology gives on the one hand, and takes from the other. Thus it seems that technology also has its dark side, and this is an aspect that is too often ignored, misunderstood, and hence underestimated. In this text we will take a critical look at technology, from the time of the Greeks to the present. Only by doing so can we fully appreciate the impact that modern technology has on our lives, our planet, and our future.
2020. Paperback. 335 pages.
PART I: INTRODUCTION – ON THE PROBLEM OF TECHNOLOGY
Close to the Singularity
Jensen and Draffan
The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race
PART II: HISTORICAL ORIGINS
Technics and the Nature of Man
Historical Roots of our Ecologic Crisis
PART III: HISTORICAL CRITIQUES
Lao Tzu and Taoism
Tao Te Ching
Incertainty and Vanity of the Worldly Arts & Sciences
Mining the Earth’s Womb
Discourse on the Arts and Sciences
Henry David Thoreau
Darwin among the Machines
Das Kapital (vol. 1)
Human, All Too Human
PART IV: 20TH CENTURY ASSESSMENTS and CRITIQUES
Alfred North Whitehead
Science and the Modern World
Road to Wigan Pier
The Question concerning Technology
Tools for Conviviality
PART V: ECOLOGICAL CRITIQUES and NEO-PRIMITIVISM
“Green Anarchy” Journal
The Problem of Technology
Ecosophy, Technology, and Lifestyle
From Religious Consciousness to Technological
Industrial Society and its Future
PART VI: TECHNOTOPIA?
Notes Toward a Neo-Luddite Manifesto
Intelligent Robots or Cyborgs
Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us
Promise and Peril