By Langdon Winner (auth.), Langdon Winner (eds.)
This 9th quantity is likely one of the such a lot arnbitious within the Philosophy and expertise sequence. Edited via technopolitical thinker Langdon Winner, it assembles a magnificent selection of philosophers and political theorists to debate probably the most vital themes of the top of the 20 th century - the bearing of know-how, in all its rarnifica tions, at the perform of democratic politics within the constructed international. whilst set beside the former quantity within the sequence - Europe, the United States, and Teehnology - the 2 jointly open a philosophical discussion of serious value concerning the methods know-how demanding situations democracy at its very roots. a few philosophers imagine the assault is deadly. Others are confident that democratic potential should be chanced on, or invented, for the keep watch over of know-how. nonetheless others item to an optimism-versus-pes simism formula of the problem. yet alI agree that the problem is extremely major, person who calls for critical philosophical inquiry. The Society for Philosophy and expertise was once lucky in having the ability to draw this team of writers to Bordeaux, France, in 1989, in addition to various others whose contributions to the controversy couldn't be integrated right here. it truly is both lucky to have selected Langdon Winner as president whilst the time carne to pick the simplest of the papers to style this quantity. college of Delaware PAUL T.
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Hence, to achieve democracy would require abandoning the technical system in its totality. But is this possible? Given the enormous risks, both actual and potential (of which we now know a small part and which will reveal themselves as we go along) , a new mode of democratic organization must seek to limit risks and dangers. At the same time it must fine tune the utilization of techniques. Hence, the question for democracy arises: can the people actually exercise power of this kind? One must immediately take account of the fact that two different logics demand obedience: namely, the logic of efficiency and the logic of democracy, the logic of the quantitative as against the logic of the qualitative.
Small symptoms go back centuries. The blackening of the English cities and countryside, and the smog-ridden "dark, satanic mills" of Manchester (as of Pittsburgh), in the older days-when daylight was blocked by factory soot, and lungs were coated with coal dust. Earlier, the denuded slopes of the Adriatic, where over centuries timbering for shipbuilding turned forested mountains into scrub and rock surfaces. There is, here, the typical litany of local environmental pollution resulting from industrialization and unregulated waste disposal of the second revolution.
If technique is the true force of things, then we will surely witness an end to history. In this case this conflict will become the final one in which the technical solution becomes irreversible. As Cornelius Castoriadis has pointed out, technique in its full development is a closing, whereas a true democracy is an endless opening. Thus, in the choice before us, the democratic option is not sentimental, ideological, or moral; it is not just one among many other alternatives. In reality, there can be no other alternative for man.