The drive of this book, without ever quite saying so, is to recommend Aristotle’s teaching on truth for contemporary thought. The book is more about concepts and arguments around truth than about truth per se. The explanation of the famous definition of truth, as saying of what is that it is, occupies a few pages. The rest of the book elucidates the vast subtext of this limpid passage. What must intellect be, what must speech be, what must beings be, for (...) this saying of what is? The “correspondence theory of truth,” which textbooks routinely attribute to Aristotle, is repudiated. Correctness and accuracy are not the fundamental values of truth. They are byproducts of a more fundamental responsiveness to the way .. (shrink)
Scholars have detected hostility to technology in Daoist thought. But is this a problem with any machine or only some applications of some machines by some people? I show that the problem is not with machines per se but with the people who introduce them, or more exactly with their knowledge. It is not knowledge as such that causes the disorder Laozi and Zhuangzi associate with machines; it is confused, disordered knowledge—superficial, inadequate, unsubtle, and artless. In other words the problem (...) is not with machines but with the ethics of engineering and the government of technology. The Daoist argument does not devalue machines or knowledge of them; instead, it sets a new goal, defining an alternative ideal—alternative to techniques held hostage to despotic ideas about efficiency and profit. (shrink)
Knowledge and Civilization advances detailed criticism of philosophy's usual approach to knowledge and describes a redirection, away from textbook problems of epistemology, toward an ecological philosophy of technology and civilization. Rejecting theories that confine knowledge to language or discourse, Allen situates knowledge in the greater field of artifacts, technical performance, and human evolution. His wide ranging considerations draw on ideas from evolutionary biology, archaeology, anthropology, and the history of cities, art, and technology.