Our War on Ourselves: Rethinking Science, Technology, and Economic Growth

Our War on Ourselves: Rethinking Science, Technology, and Economic Growth

by Willem H. Vanderburg

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Overview

Our approach to knowing and doing is based on delegating physical phenomena to physicists, biological phenomena to biologists, social phenomena to sociologists, economic phenomena to economists, and so on. This approach to knowledge and practice works very well when one category of phenomena dominates (as in mechanical and technical systems), but does not work when many categories of phenomena make significant contributions (as in the biological and cultural spheres). As a result, our civilization succeeds in its scientific and technical endeavours yet fails in dealing with communities and ecosystems.

Following his groundbreaking Labyrinth of Technology and Living in the Labyrinth of Technology, Willem H. Vanderburg's Our War on Ourselves explores the type of war we have unleashed on our lives by emphasizing discipline-based processes. The work also illuminates how we can achieve a more balanced, livable, and sustainable future by combining technical and cultural perspectives in our educational and institutional settings.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442612617
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date: 11/12/2011
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Willem H. Vanderburg is the founding director of the Centre for Technology and Social Development and is now Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto.

Table of Contents

CONTENTS

Preface

Introduction
A CIVILIZATION OF NON-SENSE?
Failure to Connect the Dots?
Science as Biased Knowing
Technology as Biased Doing
Opposing Biases
Some Consequences
Where Do We Go From Here?
How We Shall Proceed

Chapter 1
SYMBOLIZATION: GETTING IN TOUCH WITH OURSELVES AND THE WORLD
Living a Life
Babies Getting in Touch with Themselves and the World
Words as Signs
Language and Order
The Self and Cultural Order
The True and the Real
Myths and the True
The True, the Other, and Myself

Chapter 2
DESYMBOLIZATION: LOSING TOUCH WITH OURSELVES AND THE WORLD
Undermining Symbolization
Television as an Introduction to What Is Real
Computers as the Playground of What Is Real
High School Science as the Imagination of What Is Real
The Emerging Order of What Is Real

Chapter 3
COLLIDING ORDERS AND THE TRIUMPH OF THE REAL
Re-engineering a Symbolic Species
The Emerging Technological Order
A Growing Dependence on Matter and Energy
The Emerging Economic Order
Desymbolizing the Cultural Order
Making the Collision Liveable

Chapter 4
THE TRIUMPH OF THE TECHNICAL ORDER OVER CULTURAL ORDERS
Symbolization and Traditions
Desymbolization and Tradition-Based Knowing and Doing
Rationality within Culture
Technique within Culture
The Economy within the Technical Order
Possessed by New Myths
The University as a Bridgehead?

Chapter 5
DESYMBOLIZATION AND RESYMBOLIZATION
Is Resymbolization Possible?
A Starting Point
Resymbolizing Economics
Resymbolizing the Social Sciences
Resymbolizing Engineering
Resymbolizing Management
Resymbolizing Medicine
Resymbolizing Legal Education
Community Colleges

Epilogue: Power and Non-power

Notes

What People are Saying About This

Richard Stivers

‘A major and highly original contribution to the social sciences, Our War on Ourselves is also important from an experiential standpoint. Using the best general theory of culture that we have, Willem H. Vanderburg tackles the most pressing existential problem of our time - the loss of meaning and the collapse of cultural unity. This book should appeal to all serious readers and everyone in academic life, especially those who have begun to question our terminal overspecialization.‘
Richard Stivers, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Illinois State University

Tim Blackmore

‘Astounding, urgent, and highly accessible, Our War on Ourselves takes its place rightly alongside other crucial texts about what it is to live (or try to) in our world. This greatly important book lays bare the many difficulties we face living in a society organized for, by, and around technology, then provides the solutions we will need if we want to regain our lives. Willem H. Vanderburg writes with the passion and clarity of the very best scholarship, bringing together deep insights on politics, economics, high technology, and spirituality in a manner that few writers can. Our War on Ourselves clearly represents an enormous investment of thought, care, and love for the world, and it will be read by professionals from all disciplines, as well as citizens who truly care about our planet and its inhabitants.‘
Tim Blackmore, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario

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