Alternative Modernity: The Technical Turn in Philosophy and by Andrew Feenberg

By Andrew Feenberg

During this new selection of essays, Andrew Feenberg argues that conflicts over the layout and association of the technical platforms that constitution our society form deep offerings for the longer term. A pioneer within the philosophy of know-how, Feenberg demonstrates the continued power of the severe concept of the Frankfurt university. He calls into query the anti-technological stance in general linked to its theoretical legacy and argues that know-how comprises prospects that may be constructed because the foundation for an alternate type 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 examine of know-how and modernity. He contests the familiar notion of expertise as an unstoppable strength responsive basically to its personal inner dynamic and politicizes the dialogue of its social and cultural construction.This argument is substantiated in a chain of compelling and well-grounded case reviews. via his exploration of technological know-how fiction and movie, AIDS examine, the French event 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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For the constructivist position, see Bijker, Hughes, and Pinch (1990) and Bijker and Law (1992). Page 5 ply because we are acculturated members of our society. Each new instance of these standard technologies must conform to its defining "code" to be recognized and accepted by people like us. Constructivists sometimes call the establishment of such codes "black boxing" because one does not question what is ''inside" the technology once its definition is generally accepted. If all this is true, we need to take seriously Langdon Winner's (1992) proposal that technology is a new kind of legislation shaping our way of life, not so very differently from law in the proper sense.

Here I draw provisional conclusions regarding the reconciliation of the often conflicting claims of reason and culture. Both the philosophical and the political tradition need to be studied anew in the light of the growing importance of technology in modern societies. These essays make a start on this neglected task. However, my focus on technology is meant to bring it back into the critical discussion, not to eclipse the many other, equally important dimensions of modern societies that have begun to receive attention in recent years.

Technical change is Page 15 not simply progress or regress along the continuum so far traced out by the West; it may also come to include movement between different continua. As the postmodern age struggles to make the transition out of the technocratic heritage of the twentieth century, this project will appear increasingly as a practical task. Only if we can concretize the issues on the technical terrain will that transition succeed. Only then will we find out what it really means to live and create in a technological society.

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