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Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life

A Philosophical Inquiry

Blending social analysis and philosophy, Albert Borgmann maintains that technology creates a controlling pattern in our lives. This pattern, discernible even in such an inconspicuous action as switching on a stereo, has global effects: it sharply divides life into labor and leisure, it sustains the industrial democracies, and it fosters the view that the earth itself is a technological device. He argues that technology has served us as well in conquering hunger and disease, but that when we turn to it for richer experiences, it leads instead to a life dominated by effortless and thoughtless consumption. Borgmann does not reject technology but calls for public conversation about the nature of the good life. He counsels us to make room in a technological age for matters of ultimate concern—things and practices that engage us in their own right.

310 pages | 6.00 x 9.00 | © 1984

Philosophy: Philosophy of Society

Political Science: Political and Social Theory

Sociology: General Sociology

Table of Contents

Part One - The Problem of Technology
1. Technology and Theory
2. Theories of Technology
3. The Choice of a Theory
4. Scientific Theory
5. Scientific Explanation
6. The Scope of Scientific Explanation
7. Science and Technology
Part Two - The Character of Technology
8. The Promise of Technology
9. The Device Paradigm
10. The Foreground of Technology
11. Devices, Means, and Machines
12. Paradigmatic Explanation
13. Technology and the Social Order
14. Technology and Democracy
15. The Rule of Technology
16. Political Engagement and Social Justice
17. Work and Labor
18. Leisure, Excellence, and Happiness
19. The Stability of Technology
Part Three - The Reform of Technology
20. The Possibilities of Reform
21. Deictic Discourse
22. The Challenge of Nature
23. Focal Things and Practices
24. Wealth and the Good Life
25. Political Affirmation
26. The Recovery of the Promise of Technology

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