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.
Durbin, history and philosophy of science scholar and writer, has created a volume that includes about 100 terms from the natural and social sciences. For each term there is an extended definition and discussion of related philosophic issues. Each entry, about three and one-half pages, also provides a bibliography of some six to a dozen sources. A thorough index includes all terms and people discussed in the entries. This is an excellent source for an entree to the scholarly literature on (...) basic topics such as chance, gender, history, indeterminism, instrumentalism, paradigm, scientific method, and vitalism. Choice This new reference, designed for both students and general readers, provides concise essays on more than one hundred basic core ideas or concepts in the natural and social sciences, supplemented by carefully selected bibliographic listings. Written with a minimum of technical jargon, the essays explore such issues as what it means to be scientific, how theories related to facts in science, and how science compares with other intellectual disciplines. After presenting a clear explanation of the concept, each entry discusses the historical and intellectual context that gave rise to theoretical controversy and assesses the significance of the idea for both the particular discipline and science as a whole. The individual bibliographies will guide the student in tracing the historical development of each subject and investigating its scientific and philosophical aspects in greater detail. Cross referencing and subject indexing are supplied. (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 Ferré. These essays, informed by the insights of Ferré and coming from manifold perspectives—ethics, philosophy, theology, and environmental studies, advance an ambitious challenge to current intellectual and scholarly fashions.
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)