Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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CONTENTS

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. ix-xii

This book is an attempt to rethink and refine some of the central arguments that I advanced a little more than a decade ago in John Dewey’s Pragmatic Technology (Indiana University Press, 1990). Seven of its nine chapters are revisions of essays published separately during the 1990s. Here, together, they invite consideration of some of the pivotal problems and prospects of our technological culture. ...

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INTRODUCTION: PHILOSOPHY IN A HIGH-TECH WORLD

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pp. 1-7

It is by now a commonplace that the characteristic traits of our culture are pervasively and irrevocably technological. Each of us pays tribute to this fact in innumerable ways during each day of our lives. No longer does any aspect of the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the goods and services we produce, the means by which we travel and communicate with one another, or the ways in which we ...

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1. TUNING UP TECHNOLOGY

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pp. 8-43

Since it is one of the “ology” words, along with others such as “geology” and “biology,” we might reasonably expect “technology” to denote some sort of inquiry or study. But if geology is the study of the materials of the earth’s crust, and biology is the study of living things, then what about technology? Surely it must be the study of what the Greeks called techne, that is, techniques or productive skills ...

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2. TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNITY LIFE

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pp. 44-64

One of the central lessons of the history of technology is that change generally entails displacement and conflict. At the level of community life, new institutions and methods compete with older ones for public acceptance. Familiar jobs and occupations disappear and are replaced by others that require new skills. Geographic migrations occur. Forms of social organization and practice that seemed ...

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3. PRODUCTIVE PRAGMATISM, CRITICAL THEORY, AND AGAPE

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pp. 65-82

As a part of a more general retreat from the optimism that accompanied the successes of Enlightenment science and the industrial revolutions of the last several centuries, serious doubts have been registered in some quarters regarding the applicability of the methods of the technoscientific disciplines to the solution of social problems.1...

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4. ART, TECHNOSCIENCE, AND SOCIAL ACTION

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pp. 83-99

It is not necessary to subscribe to any of the various formerly or currently popular cyclical views of history to recognize extraordinary similarities between our own time and an earlier one, some one hundred years ago, that was conterminous with the formative years of Dewey’s public career. Both are periods marred by racial strife, deterioration of the living standards ...

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5. TECHNOSCIENCE EDUCATION FOR A LIFELONG CURRICULUM

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pp. 100-114

As Dewey frequently noted, one of the more interesting paradoxes of our technological milieu is the conspicuous fact that the defining methods and outlooks of the technosciences, despite their remarkable successes and widespread use, have been the subject of popular misunderstanding and even disparagement. This complex situation has been manifested both by negative appraisals of technoscience ...

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6. LITERACY, MEDIACY, AND TECHNOLOGICAL DETERMINISM

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pp. 115-128

Among those who make it their business to think about the nature and function of texts, there is a remarkable lack of consensus regarding just what should be counted as one. There is also deep disagreement about how to sort texts by type. Discussions about the identification of text-tokens within text-types don’t seem to fare any better. A part of the problem, as Joseph Margolis has reminded us, is ...

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7. POPULISM AND THE CULT OF THE EXPERT

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pp. 129-146

One of the most persistent problems of our milieu may be put quite succinctly: “What should be the role of the expert in technologically based democracies?” This matter was the subject of especially intense debate during the late 1960s and early 1970s, the crisis years of American involvement in Southeast Asia. Some, including philosopher Emmanuel Mesthene, responded to this situation with a call ...

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8. HOPE, SALVATION, AND RESPONSIBILITY

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pp. 147-156

Some have suggested that what we call myths may have begun as religious stories—imaginative, prescientific accounts of the origins, nature, and eventual outcome of the world. Few today would deny that cosmogonies, cosmologies, and eschatologies, as we now call such stories, are myths in some sense of the term. And some have suggested that religious stories were derived from even more primitive ...

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9. THE NEXT TECHNOLOGICAL REVOLUTION

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pp. 157-186

“Talk about revolutions is easy,” Marx Wartofsky has reminded us, but “revolutions are hard.”1 Compared to the technological revolutions that replaced wood with steel and steel with synthetics, he predicted, the next one will be much more difficult. We will have to politicize technology. ...

NOTES

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pp. 187-200

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 201-208

INDEX

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pp. 209-215