Needs and desires: transcending the 'bipolar tendency' [Book Review]

AI and Society 28 (1):117-121 (2013)
The paper connects two of the concerns of this special issue: the way to transcend the ‘bipolar tendency’ of the market culture and to ‘deal with the swings between prophesies of doom that serve only to paralyse us further, and the unbridled consumerism that makes things worse’, and how to remain human when being mediated by technology in contrast to how we are in the presence of others. Our contribution is based on an extensive conception of human beings (HBs). HBs cannot be considered only as cognitive subjects but also in their anthropological integrity. What we mean by this that they think and feel, they share concepts and emotions, they plan and desire. It implies that any attempt at reducing this complexity is a way to diminish human beings and their capabilities. HBs need meaningful course of actions to manage complexity and to tackle alternatives. Meanings come from purposeful activities, and people’s purposes are based not only on utilitarian or rational enquiries but also on what they consider right and good, according to their vision of the world. This is also the key to overcome the ‘bipolar tendency’.
Keywords Needs and desires  Modern capitalism artificial world  Consumerism  Sociality  Civilization  Narcissism
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DOI 10.1007/s00146-012-0393-3
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References found in this work BETA
Sigmund Freud (1972). Civilization and its Discontents. In John Martin Rich (ed.), Readings in the Philosophy of Education. Belmont, Calif.,Wadsworth Pub. Co.
Lewis Mumford (1934). Technics and Civilization. Journal of Philosophy 31 (12):331-332.

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