Download e-book for iPad: Democratizing Technology: Andrew Feenberg's Critical Theory by Tyler J. Veak

By Tyler J. Veak

ISBN-10: 0791469174

ISBN-13: 9780791469170

ISBN-10: 0791469182

ISBN-13: 9780791469187

The 1st quantity to seriously interact the paintings of Andrew Feenberg.

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Additional resources for Democratizing Technology: Andrew Feenberg's Critical Theory of Technology

Sample text

29 The historical method could also seem to eviscerate any possible critique of technology, if social histories may seem to be limited to descriptive accounts of the development of technology and are unable to make normative claims. First, the fact/value distinction seems to imply that empirical studies alone can never lead to normative claims, because inferring value statements from facts, that is, from descriptive empirical discoveries, commits the naturalistic fallacy. However, social histories of science and technology have shown that we cannot understand science if we only look at it as pure knowledge.

Technology can liberate us at the same time as it undermines the conditions that might make such liberation meaningful. Our relation to biotechnologies may need to encompass what I regard as properly ontological questions, and not simply be approached, as Feenberg does, at the level of ontic ambivalence. This is the posthuman challenge to Feenberg that cannot be answered in terms of the cyborg, the network, or through his critique of them. The question remains, at what point in the biotechnological process might we want to intervene?

Feenberg attempts to strike a balance between technology’s functional tendency toward reification and the human capacity for reflexive agency, which allows us to resist this tendency. As such, his work marks a vital contribution toward a politics of technology. Specifically, Feenberg’s work contributes toward a post-Foucauldian politics of technology, albeit one that remains true to the larger project of making technologies more democratic and humane. I want to argue, however, that he has tipped the balance toward a pragmatic politics involving issues concerning technical design and outcomes, and that his attempt to rework modern substantive theory is limited in what can be stated about technology in the larger sense.

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Democratizing Technology: Andrew Feenberg's Critical Theory of Technology by Tyler J. Veak


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