Feenberg: Between Reason & Experience, Pt 1

This was my "questioning" for Feenberg's Between Reason & Experience, Pt 1. This post is part of a series from my CMNS 857 Philosophy of Technology seminar with Andrew Feenberg. For more information, see this linked post.


There are so many ideas, varied yet threaded together, presented in the text that I found this first read to be just that - the first of many reads. At present, I’m experiencing an intense anxiety that I have not been able to fully understand the insights shared from the nine collected pieces. I recognize the Heideggerian, Marcusian, and Habermasian insights from their writings and the observations you have shared in the lectures thus far. But the full implications and logic of Marx, Luk√°cs, Weber, the critiques and analyses of modernization theories and rationalization... my brain hurts!

Simultaneously, I feel emboldened by instrumentalization theory, the reaffirmation of the phenomenological lifeworld, and the hermeneutics of technology. Part of my scholarship includes integrating philosophy of technology with philosophical perspectives on teaching and learning; all of these ideas are not only swimming around my mind but are also opening up a way of speaking about technology that is directly applicable to the everyday world given in the relationship between teacher, learner, and to-be-learned. At present educational institutions (as well as scholarship) lives at the whim of technical rationality; learning outcomes, assessments, lessons are often ‘determined’ by technologies. This lack of critical understanding and analysis helps me get out of bed each morning.

I am not sure how to limit the questions I have. I know now that I need to distinguish between what I would like to engage my peers in conversation about relative to questions I have of myself that can be resolved in a much needed reread... and on top of that the questions I would like to ask of Feenberg for greater clarity! Where to begin!

The case from Chapter 6 regarding the modernization of Japan and pre-World War philosophers. Sure there are the philosophers of technology (and those that have something to say about technology) that descend from Heidegger, the Frankfurts, and so on. Another world has opened for me with the introduction of the two Japanese philosophers. Who else is out there - bracketing Westerners - that has something to share re: philosophy/sociology of technology that I am not currently aware of? What do they have to share?

There are also a few general topics that I think I need greater clarity on. For example, I would appreciate a discussion about the types of bias presented in Chapter 8: formal, constitutive, implementation. Also, there is mention of ‘technical codes’ that would be helpful to hear more about I think.

I have more ideas and questions... the longer I try to piece things together, the more questions arise. I should stop while I'm ahead.

Additional Thoughts I haven't developed yet:

Making this accessible?
Economic Models?


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