A number of themes have been on my mind in recent months, and I have made them centerpieces of a number of things I have written lately. In a Ubiquity essay Durbin (ACM Ubiquity 8(45):26, 2007a), I said that I am happy that there are computer professionals who are activists, joining with others to solve the technosocial problems that vex our society, including problems of the computer and information professions. I here moved beyond that to make a new claim about (...) needed changes. (shrink)
In this thorough compendium, nineteen accomplished scholars explore, in some manner the values they find inherent in the world, their nature, and revelence through the thought of Frederick FerrZ. These essays, informed by the insights of FerrZ and coming from manifold perspectives—ethics, philosophy, theology, and environmental studies, advance an ambitious challenge to current intellectual and scholarly fashions.
Schlagel begins with the claim: "Ever since Galileo, our beliefs about the world have been influenced, in the main, by the results of scientific inquiry." This is still true, he says, in a sense: "Prominent contemporary philosophers such as Popper, Nagel, Hempel, Grünbaum, Toulmin, and Feyerabend have also taken scientific developments as their main focus of interest." But Schlagel thinks analytical philosophers, by contrast with philosophers of earlier periods, are peculiarly academic--out of touch with the general contemporary intellectual community. Though (...) writing for academic philosophers, Schlagel wants to reach a "wider audience comprised of scholars of diverse backgrounds." To achieve this aim, he says he will diverge from the current analytical paradigm in the following three respects: " [The book] does not focus on language as the primary datum for philosophical investigation, but the results of empirical inquiry...; it does not rely on logic as the tool for clarifying concepts and arguments; and it is systematic, in that it attempts to show that the various facets of the problem of knowledge... are interrelated and imply a new framework of interpretation". (shrink)
In this short paper—little more than a note, even a short “contrarian” sermon for this anniversary volume—what I do is argue that even the allegedly most “revolutionary” inventions of our computer-driven age are not revolutionary in the sense that their impacts are “driving” society. Some of them are genuinely revolutionary, I admit, but in the reverse direction. The inventions don’t “impact societies”; rather, particular communities within society use the technical languages that are at their core, invent them, embed them in (...) machines, and so on. It is not inventions but particular groups within modern—and so-called postmodern—societies that have invented and use technical languages which are embedded in gadgets that are said to “drive” modern or postmodern societies. And they do so only in one sense: they were invented and are used by various communities in our kinds of societies for a variety of ends. And if this is so, and if we feel those ends are undemocratic or positively anti-democratic, I conclude that we should resist them any way we can, even politically. (shrink)