15.323 on Borgmann's work

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: Wed Oct 24 2001 - 01:38:16 EDT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 323.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 06:25:19 +0100
             From: "Osher Doctorow" <osher@ix.netcom.com>
             Subject: Re: 15.321 interesting sources

      From Professor Tripathi's excellent summary of Albert Borgmann's book, I
    find myself in complete agreement with Borgmann's idea. I think that there
    is a tradeoff between gains and losses in every decision that human beings
    make, and that the losses especially in technological decisions may often
    outweigh the gains.

    Several solutions occur to me in technology. One is to try limited scales
    of adoption and compare them with similar situations where the technology is
    not adopted - in effect, make alternative decisions into a benign or
    benevolent competition, perhaps indefinitely. Secondly, and this applies
    beyond technology as well to philosophy and other fields, create
    indefinitely long competition between theories with changed axioms, changed
    operations, and so on. I have written about this latter idea to some extent
    in geometric axioms and algebraic operations, but in technologically related
    theory it occurs to me now that a good competition would be that between
    infinite and finite theories. Computer theory and practice in the past
    usually adopted the finite viewpoint, until quantum computers and quantum
    entanglement changed the whole appearance of the universe. I suspect that
    the human brain/mind complex is an infinite (and in fact, uncountably
    infinite) computer type object rather than a finite one, and that neuron
    functioning (which is finite) follows rather than leads the brain/mind
    functioning, where the latter is somewhat like a parallel universe inside
    the outer universe with rough similarities to Leibniz' monad in the sense of
    its synchronization to the outer universe but also with rough differences
    derived from the elementary operations of expansion and contraction of
    consciousness/perception/memory. Let us create competing branches of
    computers and computer theory and artificial intelligence in and out of
    humanities based on both the finite and infinite viewpoints and even
    internal differences within each, and instead of trying to kill off the
    *opposing* theories let us retain them indefinitely but keep comparing them
    and predictions associated with them and real world data.

    Osher Doctorow

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Humanist Discussion Group
    <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>)" <willard@lists.village.virginia.edu>
    To: "Humanist Discussion Group" <humanist@lists.Princeton.EDU>
    Sent: Sunday, October 21, 2001 12:06 AM

    > Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 321.
    > Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
    > <http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/>
    > <http://www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/humanist/>
    > [1] From: Arun-Kumar Tripathi (28)
    > <tripathi@amadeus.statistik.uni-dortmund.de>
    > Subject: Albert Borgmann and "Technology and the Character of
    > Contemporary Life"
    > [2] From: Arun-Kumar Tripathi (45)
    > <tripathi@amadeus.statistik.uni-dortmund.de>
    > Subject: INTERVIEW with Prof. Don Ihde in relation to Matrix
    > Project
    > [3] From: Arun-Kumar Tripathi (221)
    > <tripathi@amadeus.statistik.uni-dortmund.de>
    > Subject: Useful articles & books by Don Ihde, Philosophy, SUNY
    > Stony Brook
    > --[1]------------------------------------------------------------------
    > Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2001 08:03:50 +0100
    > From: Arun-Kumar Tripathi
    > <tripathi@amadeus.statistik.uni-dortmund.de>
    > Subject: Albert Borgmann and "Technology and the Character of
    > Contemporary Life"
    > Dear Humanist scholars,
    > "How can one experience onself as an integral part of nature - not at a
    > conceptual level, but as an actual experience."
    > "How have we lost the experience of our connection with nature."
    > I would encourage every member interested in these questions to get a copy
    > of Albert Borgmann's book "Technology and the Character of Contemporary
    > Life: A Philosophical Inquiry" It's published by University of Chicago
    > Press in paperback.
    > Borgmann's thesis is that as we increasingly take up with the world
    > through our work, leisure activities and family time, in a technological
    > manner, our capacities as human beings atrophy and our experiences of the
    > world are diminished. His analysis is much richer and insightful than I
    > can convey.
    > He welcomes the expansion of technologies that ease human suffering,
    > eradicate disease and lift the drudgery of skillless burdensome labor from
    > workers. He's also interested in technology that sharpens human
    > experiences of the world such as new materials for musical instruments.
    > There's no list of appropriate or inappropriate technologies. Instead, he
    > arms the reader with a set of concepts that give one the eyes to see what
    > is gained and what is lost when one opts to jog on a treadmill in one's
    > living room rather than being a moving body through a landscape; reckoning
    > with the wind, the inclines; the riches and challenges associated with the
    > particular season.
    > Comments, thoughts and criticisms are appreciated!!
    > Thank you!
    > Best Regards
    > Arun Tripathi
    > --
    > --[2]------------------------------------------------------------------
    > Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2001 08:04:27 +0100
    > From: Arun-Kumar Tripathi
    > <tripathi@amadeus.statistik.uni-dortmund.de>
    > Subject: INTERVIEW with Prof. Don Ihde in relation to Matrix
    > Dear Humanist Scholars,
    > This is the interview with Don Ihde, November 14, 2000 in relation to
    > Matrix Project. Participants: Don Ihde, Evan Selinger, Srikanth
    > Mallavarapu, Jari Joergensen, Robb Eason, Nikos Plevris, and Jeremy W.
    > Hubbell.
    > -----------------
    > ES: Don, you have a background in Continental philosophy; but if one does
    > a quick survey of works being published in Continental philosophy today,
    > one finds very little on either the topics of science or technology. Even
    > if one finds treatments of these issues, they are often very dystopian,
    > presupposing science, technology, and their advancements are somehow
    > encroaching on the lifeworld, damaging more productive forms of living and
    > styles of existence. Why do think that is the case and how is it that you,
    > coming out of a Continental background, seem to be taking a different
    > path?
    > DI: I think that you are right about it largely or dominantly being the
    > case. There are some people of course who do philosophy of technology out
    > of Continental backgrounds. I suppose the two most prominent would be Andy
    > Feenberg and Albert Borgmann. Andy comes out of critical theory. Albert
    > comes out of a Heideggerian background. I think part of it has to do with
    > a very bad habit. In my estimation this bad habit of Continental
    > philosophy tends to first of all narrowly select some standard set of
    > godfathers, or people who are widely known, and vertically cite them. For
    > example, when it comes to technology, Heidegger and Marcuse are probably
    > still the people who are most talked about in the field. It used to be a
    > wider set, but other people have sort of dropped off. Both of these people
    > tend to be highly dystopian. On the other hand, as you know, the Dutch
    > have been reading American philosophers of technology. They read us as
    > being at least less dystopian than the European forbearers. My own take is
    > that the more I study particulars kinds of technologies, the more
    > dissatisfied I am with traditions that would make vast generalizations
    > about technology, particularly on a dystopian basis. I think technologies
    > can do very bad things; but they can also do very good things.
    > To read the complete interview with Professor Don Ihde, please point your
    > browser to http://www.sunysb.edu/philosophy/new/research/ihde_2.html
    > Don Ihde is distinguished professor in the Department of Philosophy, and
    > is also affiliated with the history of science and women's studies
    > programs, at SUNY, Stony Brook. His research tnterests develop around
    > both philosophy of science and technology, with special recent interests
    > in imaging technologies. In addition, work on intercultutral perception
    > and plural cultural patterns form part of the research interest.
    > Comments are appreciated from the members!
    > Thank you!
    > Sincerely yours
    > Arun Tripathi
    > --[3]------------------------------------------------------------------
    > Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2001 08:04:55 +0100
    > From: Arun-Kumar Tripathi
    > <tripathi@amadeus.statistik.uni-dortmund.de>
    > Subject: Useful articles & books by Don Ihde, Philosophy, SUNY
    > Stony Brook
    > Dear Humanist scholars,
    > HELLO everyone, it is an exquisite hono(u)r for me to introduce the works
    > of --Don Ihde, who is distinguished professor in the Department of
    > Philosophy, and is also affiliated with the history of science and women's
    > studies programs, at SUNY, Stony Brook. His research tnterests develop
    > around both philosophy of science and technology, with special recent
    > interests in imaging technologies. In addition, work on intercultutral
    > perception and plural cultural patterns form part of the research
    > interest.
    > And, with this message worth sharing a quote--> Technology can no longer
    > be taken for granted. Its impact on and implications for the social,
    > ethical, political, and cultural dimensions of our world must be
    > considered and addressed. --DON IHDE (Philosophy of Technology: An
    > Introduction)
    > In my view --Professor Don Ihde is a pleasure to read and explore. Don
    > Ihde, who can be thought of as one of the 'founding fathers' of the
    > growing field of 'technoscience'. Currently, I am doing research on Don
    > Ihde and exploring his art of philosophizing..
    > Don Ihde had also written a book on philosophy of technology before Bad
    > Homburg, Technics and Praxis: A Philosophy of Technology (1979), but his
    > case differs from that of Carpenter in two respects: he has written
    > several more books, and he is the editor of a philosophy of technology
    > book series published by Indiana University Press. The first book
    > published in that series, Larry Hickman's John Dewey's Pragmatic
    > Technology (1990), shows that Ihde was not interested, in the series, in
    > pushing his own phenomenological approach to philosophy of technology, but
    > is open to a variety of approaches. Ihde's own approach does show up in
    > his later books, Existential Technics (1983), Consequences of
    > Phenomenology (1986), and Technology and the Lifeworld: From Garden to
    > Earth (1990),even in his Philosophy of Technology: An Introduction (1993),
    > though that textbook does present other views. In general, one can say
    > that Ihde's development is a matter of greater depth and clarity in his
    > phenomenological analysis, though Technology and the Lifeworld gives more
    > than a passing nod to the centrality of environmental concerns.
    > http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/SPT/v4_n1html/DURBIN.html ]
    > Don Ihde (1979, 1983, 1990, 1993), who is perhaps next only to Mitcham -
    > and possibly Albert Borgmann, to be mentioned in a moment -, has been
    > widely praised by SPT members. His appearances at SPT meetings are only a
    > tiny fraction of the appearances Ihde makes and the talks he gives all
    > over the world. About Ihde, Mitcham says: "[He] not only wrote the first
    > monograph on philosophy of technology in English, he has also produced the
    > most extensive corpus devoted to the subject and has established a book
    > series devoted to philosophy of technology" (1994, 78). On the other hand,
    > Mitcham also raises questions about Ihde: "In light of the importance he
    > gives to technology in human experience, his strong sympathies with
    > pragmatism, and his criticisms of the critics of technology, ...it is not
    > clear to what extent his phenomenological philosophy of technology is
    > truly other than a sophisticated and subtle engineering philosophy of
    > technology" - as opposed to the "humanities philosophy of technology" that
    > Mitcham favors.
    > Paul T. Durbin University of Delaware
    > http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/SPT/v5n2/durbin.html ]
    > From a hermeneutical perspective, Ihde characterizes the "existential
    > import" of technologies in terms of "world reflexivity," which he
    > describes as follows: "Humans interpret their world in terms of some
    > focused interpretation. . . . But because humans are also existentially
    > and necessarily related to what they perceive as their world, they 'bring
    > it close' so that ultimately they also interpret themselves in terms of
    > their world" (Ihde, 1979, p. 64). As a consequence of world reflexivity,a
    > notion that Ihde later expands (Ihde, 1983) ,and because computing
    > technology becomes prominent in many activities, humans tend to interpret
    > themselves in terms of this technology, leading to notions such as "the
    > brain is a computer," and "human intelligence can be simulated by
    > computing machines." Thus, a noticeable effect of this technology is that
    > through processes of self-interpretation and world-reflexivity it affects
    > the views that human users of technology have of themselves and of the
    > world.
    > Agustin A. Araya, San Jose State University
    > http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/SPT/v3n2/ARAYA.html ]
    > Some useful essays authored by Prof. Don Ihde
    > -----------------------------------------------
    > "How Could We Ever Believe Science is not Political?"
    > http://www.sunysb.edu/philosophy/new/research/ihde_1.html
    > "If Phenomenology is an Albatross, is Postphenomenology Possible?"
    > http://www.sunysb.edu/philosophy/new/research/ihde_3.html
    > "Whole Earth Measurements"
    > http://www.sunysb.edu/philosophy/new/research/ihde_4.html
    > "Why Not Science Critics?"
    > http://www.sunysb.edu/philosophy/new/research/ihde_5.html
    > "Expanding Hermeneutics"
    > http://www.sunysb.edu/philosophy/new/research/ihde_6.html
    > Don Ihde, State University of New York at Stony Brook
    > http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/SPT/v1n1n2/ihde.html
    > Thesis of Don Ihde is discussed in the below abstract
    > --------------------------------------------------------
    > Can we say something more about the relation that constitutes technology?
    > Perhaps we can use some ideas of the American philosopher of technology,
    > Don Ihde, who has read Martin Heidegger as a scholar of phenomenology and
    > who is also under the influence of pragmatism (Ihde, 1979 and 1983). In
    > his book, Technology and the Lifeworld (1990), he focuses on
    > human-technology relations and the cultural embeddedness of technologies.
    > Following a relativistic ontology he draws a distinction between the
    > "direct bodily and perceptual experiences of others and the immediate
    > environment" and "technologically mediated experiences" (Ihde, 1990, pp.
    > 15 ff.). And he suggestsas I proposed abovethat we look for different
    > degrees of mediation in our technologically textured world.
    > The position that conceives of technology as instruments to transform
    > something can be blamed as a Cartesian and subjectivist bias. It is
    > supposed that a self or a subject can use a thing as an instrument to
    > effect something in the outer world. But is it reasonable to speak of a
    > subject, if the technological instruments change the status of
    > subjectivity? Who is the subject in an atomic plant? The clear-cut limits
    > between subject and object become disturbed. "Technics is a symbiosis of
    > artifact and user within a human action" (Ihde, 1990, p. 73). The material
    > relation between humans and the world should be conceived as a symbiotic
    > and mediated relation instead of as a divided and instrumental one.
    > Ihde, Don. 1979. Technics and Praxis: A Philosophy of Technology . Boston:
    > Reidel.
    > Ihde, Don. 1983. Existential Technics . Albany: State University of New
    > York Press.
    > Ihde, Don. 1990. Technology and the Lifeworld: From Garden to Earth .
    > Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
    > Rammert, Free University, Berlin
    > http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/SPT/v4_n3html/RAMMERT.html ]
    > 1. Postphenomenology : Essays in the Postmodern Context (Northwestern
    > University Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy) by Don
    > Ihde, et al (Paperback - August 1995)
    > 2. Expanding Hermeneutics : Visualism in Science (Northwestern University
    > Studies in Phenomenology & Existential Philosophy.) by Don Ihde
    > (Paperback - January 1999)
    > 3. Instrumental Realism : Interface Between Philosophy of Science and
    > Philosophy of Technology (The Indiana Series in the Philosophy of
    > Technology) by Don Ihde (Editor) (Paperback - May 1991)
    > 4. Experimental Phenomenology : An Introduction by Don Ihde (Paperback -
    > September 1986)
    > 5. Bodies in Technology (Electronic Mediations, V. 5) by Don Ihde
    > (Paperback - January 2002)
    > 6. Philosophy of Technology : An Introduction (Paragon Issues in
    > Philosophy) by Don Ihde (Paperback - January 1993)
    > 7. Technology and the Lifeworld : From Garden to Earth (Indiana Series in
    > Philosophy of Technology) by Don Ihde (Paperback - May 1990)
    > 8. Descriptions (Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential
    > Philosophy, No 11) by Don Ihde, Hugh J. Silverman (Paperback - November
    > 1985)
    > 9. Experimental Phenemenology by Don Ihde
    > 10. Consequences of Phenomenology by Don Ihde
    > Expanding Hermeneutics"
    > by Don Ihde
    > ((Excerpt))
    > The late twentieth century seems marked by a deep intellectual discomfort
    > about the ways in which Western thought generally has framed its ways of
    > understanding the World. One symptom of this dis-ease revolves around the
    > current philosophical debates which see either a dramatic end to, or a
    > winding down from 'modernity.' Are we 'postmodern'? 'a-modern'? or, were
    > we, as Bruno Latour claims, never modern to begin with? In this
    > contribution to the closing of the first "Hermeneutics and Science"
    > meeting, I shall be using this context to re-interpret both hermeneutics
    > and science...
    > Details of the book "Instrumental Realism" written by Don Ihde
    > (Publication date: 1991, 174 pages, Indiana Press)
    > -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    > The book discusses --the Interface between Philosophy of Science and
    > Philosophy of Technology
    > "Ihde is perhaps uniquely situated to provide authoritative accounts of
    > such diverse philosophical traditions as those involved in current
    > explorations of the technology of scientific instruments. . . . Ihde's
    > book breaks new ground and . . . makes an important debate accessible."
    > ----Robert Ackermann----
    > Instrumental Realism has three principal aims: to advocate a
    > "praxis-perception" approach to the philosophy of science; to explore ways
    > in which such an approach offers a mutually illuminating overlap with a
    > philosophy of technology; and to examine comparatively and critically the
    > work of some who advocate an "instrumental realist" approach to the
    > philosophy of science.
    > Details about the book, "EXPERIMENTAL PHENOMENOLOGY -An Introduction"
    > written by Don Ihde (155 pages, June 1986, State University of New York
    > Press)
    > --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    > Experimental Phenomenology has already been lauded for the ease with which
    > its author explains and demonstrates the kinds of consciousness by which
    > we come to know the structure of objects and the struct ure of
    > consciousness itself. The format of the book follows the progression of a
    > number of thought experiments which mark out the procedures and directions
    > of phenomenological inquiry. Making use of examples of familiar optical
    > illusions and multi-stable d rawings, Professor Ihde illustrates by way of
    > careful and disciplined step-by-step analyses, how some of the main
    > methodological procedures and epistemological concepts of phenomenology
    > assume concrete relevance. Such formidable fare as epoche, noetic and
    > noematic analysis, apodicticity, adequacy, sedimentation, imaginative
    > variation, field, and fringe are rendered into the currency of familiar
    > examples from the everyday world.
    > "...the unencumbered style of the book and prolific use of concrete
    > examples makes the content accessible both to the beginning student of
    > philosophy and to the intelligent layman." -- Review of Metaphysics
    > "An important and much needed contribution to the field of
    > phenomenological philosophy." -- Choice
    > Details about the book, "EXISTENTIAL TECHNICS" written by Don Ihde (A
    > volume in the SUNY series in Philosophy, Robert C. Neville, editor, 190
    > pages June 1983 , State University of New York Press)
    > -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    > With Existential Technics, Don Ihde advances his reflections on the role
    > technology plays in human life. Heretofore primarily the province of
    > Continental thinkers, philosophy of technology is a growing preoccupation
    > of Nort h American philosophers. This collection of essays is a
    > philosophical reflection on and critique of human experience from a
    > clearly American perspective guided by phenomenological analysis.
    > This book is divided into three parts. The first, technics, deals with
    > human interaction with technology and its existential effects. The
    > remaining sections on perception and interpretation examine the
    > imaginative use of phenomenology in the visual and auditory realms of art,
    > music, and intercultural perceptions, and are followed by discussions of
    > contemporary hermeneutics and deconstruction theory, particularly in the
    > thought of Heidegger and Derrida.
    > If any member/scholar would like to know more on the research of
    > "philosophy of technology" or if any member interested in the philosophy
    > of Don Ihde --then please contact Professor Don Ihde at
    > <Don.Ihde@sunysb.edu> or people can also send me their e-mail message at
    > <tripathi@informatik.tu-darmstadt.de>
    > Comments and criticisms are always appreciated!
    > Thank you!
    > Enjoy the Embodiment!
    > Warmest regards,
    > Arun Tripathi

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