By Andrew Feenberg
During this new selection of essays, Andrew Feenberg argues that conflicts over the layout and association of the technical structures that constitution our society form deep offerings for the longer term. A pioneer within the philosophy of know-how, Feenberg demonstrates the ongoing energy of the serious thought of the Frankfurt institution. He calls into query the anti-technological stance quite often linked to its theoretical legacy and argues that know-how comprises possibilities that may be constructed because the foundation for another kind of smooth society.Feenberg's severe reflections at the principles of J?rgen Habermas, Herbert Marcuse, Jean-Fran?ois Lyotard, and Kitaro Nishida shed new gentle at the philosophical learn of know-how and modernity. He contests the commonplace perception of know-how as an unstoppable strength responsive simply to its personal inner dynamic and politicizes the dialogue of its social and cultural construction.This argument is substantiated in a sequence of compelling and well-grounded case stories. via his exploration of technological know-how fiction and movie, AIDS learn, the French adventure with the "information superhighway," and the japanese reception of Western values, he demonstrates how know-how, whilst subjected to public strain and debate, can comprise moral and aesthetic values.
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Additional info for Alternative Modernity: The Technical Turn in Philosophy and Social Theory
As these new interests are internalized in the code, it masks their source in public protest. The waves close over forgotten controversies and the technologists return to the comforting be- Page 11 lief in their own autonomy, which seems to be verified by the conditions of everyday technical work. Who today, even in the hospitals where women once struggled to change procedures, recalls the sometimes fierce resistance to admitting husbands to labor rooms? How many nuclear engineers remember the history of radiation exposure standards (Caufield 1989)?
They are joined by those feminists who criticize modern technology as an inherently "masculinist" enterprise. Habermas, to whose work we will return in chapter 4, is the best-known defender of the second view. All these critics agree that technology fundamentally transforms activities hitherto regulated by tradition and human values, so much so that its specific accomplishments in these domains matter little by comparison. The content of the choices made under the rule of efficiency is less important than the fact that efficiency criteria play a role in making those choices.
Aesthetics, ethics, and culture can play a role alongside science and technology in the emergence of alternative modernities. Although Alternative Modernity is strongly influenced by the Frankfurt School, in chapters 2 and 4 I explain why I think the Critical Theory tradition must now be revised. I attempt to overcome the frozen opposition, to which the Frankfurt School contributed, between those who are "for" and those who are "against" technology. At the same time, I am not willing to abandon the whole critical tradition of technology studies in postmodern resignation or celebration.
Alternative Modernity: The Technical Turn in Philosophy and Social Theory by Andrew Feenberg