Confronting Technology

(Creative Fire Press)

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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

               

                Danny Hillis

                                Close to the Singularity                                                                 

                 Jensen and Draffan

                                Nanotechnology                                                                             

                 Jared Diamond

                                The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race      

                 Jerry Mander

                                Megatechnology (interview)                                                      

 

PART II:  HISTORICAL ORIGINS                   

               

                Lewis Mumford

                                Technics and the Nature of Man                                              

                Plato

                                Gorgias                                                                                

                 Aristotle

                                Rhetoric                                                                                              

                                Nicomachean Ethics                                                                       

                Bible

                                Genesis                                                                                               

                Lynn White

                                Historical Roots of our Ecologic Crisis                                      

              

PART III:  HISTORICAL CRITIQUES

 

                Lao Tzu and Taoism

                                Tao Te Ching                                                                                     

                                Chuang Tzu                                                                                                        

                Plato

                                Phaedrus                                                                                            

                Henry Agrippa

                                Incertainty and Vanity of the Worldly Arts & Sciences    

                Francis Bacon

                                Novum Organum                                                                            

                Carolyn Merchant

                                Mining the Earth’s Womb                                                            

                Jean-Jacques Rousseau

                                Discourse on the Arts and Sciences                                         

                The Luddites                                                                                                     

                Henry David Thoreau

                                Walden                                                                                               

               Samuel Butler

                                Darwin among the Machines                                                     

                                Mechanical Creation                                                                      

                Karl Marx

                                Das Kapital (vol. 1)                                                                          

                Friedrich Nietzsche

                                Human, All Too Human                                                                 

PART IV:  20TH CENTURY ASSESSMENTS and CRITIQUES

 

                Alfred North Whitehead

                                Science and the Modern World                                                 

                George Orwell

                                Road to Wigan Pier                                                                         

                Martin Heidegger

                                The Question concerning Technology                                     

                Herbert Marcuse

                                One-Dimensional Man                                                                  

                Theodore Roszak

                                Forbidden Games                                                                           

                Ivan Illich

                                Tools for Conviviality                                                                     

            

PART V:  ECOLOGICAL CRITIQUES and NEO-PRIMITIVISM

                “Green Anarchy” Journal

                               The Problem of Technology                                                        

                Arne Naess

                                Ecosophy, Technology, and Lifestyle                                       

                Henryk Skolimowski

                                From Religious Consciousness to Technological                  

                                Consciousness                                                                                 

                Theodore Kaczynski

                                Industrial Society and its Future                                                

PART VI:  TECHNOTOPIA?

                Chellis Glendinning

                                Notes Toward a Neo-Luddite Manifesto                               

                Kevin Warwick

                                Intelligent Robots or Cyborgs                                                     

                Bill Joy

                                Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us                                             

                Ray Kurzweil

                                Promise and Peril                                                                            

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