Some ideas take long time to mature into a form that you are finally happy to share them. This is an example for such thing. It took me some time to see that these 5 concepts are linked, with technological information being a demonstration of the trouble with the device paradigm, while natural and cultural information being part of focal things and practices more on these concepts below. This week, I was able to come back to the topic in a seminar in the Department of Geography at the University of Leicester. Finally, I feel that I can link them in a coherent way.

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In the philosophy of technology , the device paradigm is the way " technological devices " are perceived and consumed in modern society, according to Albert Borgmann. It explains the intimate relationship between people, things and technological devices, defining most economic relations and also shapes social and moral relations in general.

The concept of the device paradigm is a critical response to the Heidegger 's notion of Gestell. For Borgmann, a device is a thing that is used as a means to an end.

Therefore, a device is seen as "the compound of commodity and machinery" while "the distinctive pattern of division and connection of its components is the device paradigm. A focal thing is something of ultimate concern and significance, which may be masked by the device paradigm, and must be preserved by its intimate connection with practice. He cited that the focal thing in winemaking involves the implements used to produce wine. Wine becomes a device when it employs technology and machinery not merely to produce wine but obtain specific qualities such as grapey, smooth, light, and fruity flavors or clean and clear appearance.

As technological devices increase the availability of a commodity or service, they also push these devices into the background where people do not pay attention to their destructive tendencies. Social interaction is reduced and the family struggles to find activities that enable such nurturing and care for each other. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.

Power Failure: Christianity in the Culture of Technology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Technology and the Good Life? University of Chicago Press. Categories : Technology in society Concepts in social philosophy Philosophy of technology.

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The Recovery of "Focal Practices"

The previous chapter took Nature as an intuitive source of helpful challenges to the technological paradigm. Moreover, Borgmann actually thinks that technology, while it can be a challenge to what we find meaningful in life, for that very reason heightens its beauty. So, what is a focal thing or practice? Examples of focal things are not hard to find, and extend beyond the wilderness: music, gardening, the culture of the table, and running constitute a few. For Heidegger, this role of the temple—gathering in and disclosing the givenness of its surroundings—is central to art and historical existence. Technology, on the other hand, is for him a metaphysical development that deals in pure conditionality—what might or might not be the case in whatever circumstance.


Tag: Focal Things and Practices

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Focal things and practices

I enjoyed your take on Borgmann: beautifully written and helpful to anyone wishing to know how to deploy Heideggerian concelt without hurting themselves. Post a Comment. Focal Things. May 12, Albert Borgmann The German-American philosopher Albert Borgmann is professor at the University of Montana and author of several books on the effects of electronic media on the human person. For example, he writes: Using or not using the interstate highway system is not a matter of choice anymore for most of us, and neither are the moral consequences of long commutes and the neglect of family, neighborhood, and inner city. When we finally come home, late and exhausted, greeted by a well-stocked refrigerator, a preternaturally efficient microwave, and diverting television, there is little choice when we fail to cook a good meal and summon the family to the dinner table.

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