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Alternative Modernity

The Technical Turn in Philosophy and Social Theory

Andrew Feenberg (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 200 pages
ISBN: 9780520089860
November 1995
$31.95, £26.95
In this new collection of essays, Andrew Feenberg argues that conflicts over the design and organization of the technical systems that structure our society shape deep choices for the future. A pioneer in the philosophy of technology, Feenberg demonstrates the continuing vitality of the critical theory of the Frankfurt School. He calls into question the anti-technological stance commonly associated with its theoretical legacy and argues that technology contains potentialities that could be developed as the basis for an alternative form of modern society.

Feenberg's critical reflections on the ideas of Jürgen Habermas, Herbert Marcuse, Jean-François Lyotard, and Kitaro Nishida shed new light on the philosophical study of technology and modernity. He contests the prevalent conception of technology as an unstoppable force responsive only to its own internal dynamic and politicizes the discussion of its social and cultural construction.

This argument is substantiated in a series of compelling and well-grounded case studies. Through his exploration of science fiction and film, AIDS research, the French experience with the "information superhighway," and the Japanese reception of Western values, he demonstrates how technology, when subjected to public pressure and debate, can incorporate ethical and aesthetic values.
Andrew Feenberg is Canada Chair in Philosophy of Technology in the School of Communication of Simon Fraser University. He is the author of Questioning Technology (1999) and Transforming Technology (2002).

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