Philosophical Tools for Technological Culture

Putting Pragmatism to Work

by Larry A. Hickman

Published by: Indiana University Press

232 Pages, 6.12 x 9.25 in, 1 bibliog., 1 index

  • Paperback
  • 9780253214447
  • Published: February 2001


  • eBook
  • 9780253108647
  • Published: February 2001


"Hickman['s] . . . style of pragmatism provides us with flexible, philosophical 'tools'
which can be used to analyze and penetrate various technology and technological
cultural problems of the present. He, himself, uses this toolkit to make his analyses
and succeeds very well indeed." —Don Ihde

A practical and comprehensive appraisal of the value of philosophy in today's technological culture.

Philosophical Tools for Technological Culture contends that technology—a defining mark of contemporary culture—should be a legitimate concern of philosophers. Larry A. Hickman contests the perception that philosophy is little more than a narrow academic discipline and that philosophical discourse is merely redescription of the ancient past. Drawing inspiration from John Dewey, one of America's greatest public philosophers, Hickman validates the role of philosophers as cultural critics and reformers in the broadest sense. Hickman situates Dewey's critique of technological culture within the debates of 20th-century Western philosophy by engaging the work of Richard Rorty, Albert Borgmann, Jacques Ellul, Walter Benjamin, Jürgen Habermas, and Martin Heidegger, among others. Pushing beyond their philosophical concerns, Hickman designs and assembles a set of philosophical tools to cope with technological culture in a new century. His pragmatic treatment of current themes—such as technology and its relationship to the arts, technosciences and technocrats, the role of the media in education, and the meaning of democracy and community life in an age dominated by technology—reveals that philosophy possesses powerful tools for cultural renewal. This original, timely, and accessible work will be of interest to readers seeking a deeper understanding of the meanings and consequences of technology in today's world.