Sojourns in the New World

Sojourns in the New World: Reflections on Technology

Edited and Introduced by Tom Darby
Copyright Date: 1986
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  • Book Info
    Sojourns in the New World
    Book Description:

    This collection of essays represents a reflective inquiry into the way in which our world is set apart from its past, its present defined and its destiny shaped by technology. The contributors tackle the subject from different perspectives within the fields of philosophy and politics.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-8154-8
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. None)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. i-ii)
  3. Sojourns in the New World
    (pp. iii-iv)
  4. Preface
    (pp. v-xii)
  5. Reflections on Technology: An Excursus as Introduction
    (pp. 1-22)

    On the eve of a fierce battle, the sound of cannon shattering the tense silence, Hegel wrote that a new age had erupted into being. He compared the new time to the birth of a child that had silendy matured in the womb, the arrival of which had heralded an abrupt, unprecedented and qualitative change. He called the result of this terminal break with the past the “New World.” The place was Jena, the year 1806, and Hegel’s words now are preserved in the preface to hisPhenomenology of Spirit. Here we examine this phenomenon called the New World, questioning...

  6. CHAPTER ONE Hegelian Imperialism
    (pp. 25-68)

    This essay consists of four sections and a few remarks. I aim to show the enormous difficulty one has in trying to think about modernity without taking refuge in a love of tradition. When we do take refuge in tradition we may well show our reverence for the past, for the Bible or the philosophy of the Greeks, for example; but we also reject something of ourselves since we are not Greeks or simple believers in biblical revelations. No one, it seems to me, who has read, for example, Hans Jonas, Hannah Arendt or Karl Barth, Eric Voegelin, Mircea Eliade...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Politics, Ideology and Technology: A Perspective on the New World
    (pp. 71-106)

    Remarking on the spread of Western civilization through universal acceptance of its technology, the convenient marriage of making and knowing, Canadian philosopher George Grant has examined the problem of justice in a liberal technological society. For Grant, the wedding oftechnéandlogoshas evoked a creative urge-to-command that is overwhelming the liberal traditions of English-speaking civility that led the strong to honour contracts and maintain dialogue with the weak. He sees coming a society whose heartbeat is paced by the inexorable logic of total efficiency in service to the emancipation of greed, a society whose future portends a “justice”...

  8. CHAPTER THREE Nihilism, Politics and Technology
    (pp. 109-142)

    It was the young Karl Marx who informed us in his doctoral dissertation that philosophy could never be the same after Hegel.¹ Since Marx’s utterance, the reception of the words of Hegel, after largely being ignored for more than three-quarters of a century, have come back to us and have been received with the enthusiasm that the term “revival” best captures.² This Hegel revival began in the first quarter of our century and shows no sign of abating, for the words of Hegel were written for us, the inhabitants of the “New World,” as Hegel called it.

    Among those who...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR Life Against History
    (pp. 145-152)

    In his remarkable oeuvre, “The Discourse on Language,” Michel Foucault has this to say of Hyppolite’s decentring of the Hegelian legacy.

    But truly to escape Hegel involves an exact appreciation of the price we have to pay to detach ourselves from him. It assumes we are aware of the extent to which Hegel, insiduously perhaps, is close to us; it implies a knowledge of that which permits us to think against Hegel, of that which remains Hegelian. We have to determine the extent to which our anti-Hegelianism is possibly one of his tricks directed against us, at the end of...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE Ancients and Moderns, Technique, Cybernetics and Entropy
    (pp. 155-178)

    In 1945 a new sun momentarily burned the skies over Hiroshima. All around the world people bowed before its glow, knowing intuitively that it delimited a final horizon for man. If reason had revealed to man a transcendent world beyond the confines of the cave, a world that could be apprehended in thought, then technique had captured it and made it a concrete reality. There was no longer any room for shadows in this cave. There was a cremating sun for removed from the life-creating one observed by Plato, which, in its daily benevolent sojourn over the polis, revealed the...

  11. CHAPTER SIX Rationality and Reaction: The Roots of Modernity
    (pp. 181-216)

    It has long been and still is hoped that mechanizing and rationalizing the “modes of production” would eliminate the need to perform mundane functions and thereby enable man better to fulfill his spiritual potential. Until recently this ideal was shared not only by new left nirvanists but by writers of practically all ideological persuasions. However, rather than foster human personal diversity, this aspect of modern life has contributed to the plunge of the spiritual to its lowest common denominator – if indeed it has not been entirely effaced. As needs are gratified, creativity emerges as manipulation and control, faith and piety...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN Imperial Humanism: Habermas’s Interest Theory of Knowledge
    (pp. 219-242)

    The other day a friend showed me the above passage and I could not help but laugh. For in the part of the crafty metaphysician, I saw the very person on whose work I was then writing – Jürgen Habermas. Consequently, I could not resist beginning with it. In part it suits my purposes because it is my argument that at the most basic level Habermas is a metaphysician. Of course, he would never say this. And again, perhaps we are all crafty metaphysicians. But we are not all crafty in the same way, which is in part why I take...

  13. CHAPTER EIGHT The Silence of the Other New World, Hysterias and Hallucinations from Hegel to the Tui Intellectuals
    (pp. 245-263)

    “They don’t know it but we are bringing them the plague.”¹ With these words, uttered on the occasion of his first glimpse of the New World, Freud unveiled the genealogy of interface between the Old World and the New, one which via the dialectic of the microbe harkened back to the arrival of syphilis in Europe from South America and would extend on through to the white man’s gift of smallpox-infested clothing to cover the nakedness of the Amerindian, and beyond. Considered from the perspective of a disease of the spirit (Geisteskrankheit), the metaphysics of which Freud’s were a major...

  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 264-264)