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Technology and Isolation

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  • Date Published: March 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316632352

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About the Authors
  • By reconsidering the theme of isolation in the philosophy of technology, and by drawing upon recent developments in social ontology, Lawson provides an account of technology that will be of interest and value to those working in a variety of different fields. Technology and Isolation includes chapters on the philosophy, history, sociology and economics of technology, and contributes to such diverse topics as the historical emergence of the term 'technology', the sociality of technology, the role of technology in social acceleration, the relationship between Marx and Heidegger, and the relationship between technology and those with autism. The central contribution of the book is to provide a new ontology of technology. In so doing, Lawson argues that much of the distinct character of technology can be explained or understood in terms of the dynamic that emerges from technology's peculiar constitutional mix of isolatable and non-isolatable components.

    • Provides both an accessible introduction to the philosophy of technology for social scientists and to recent developments in social ontology for philosophers of technology
    • Facilitates a rethinking of existing debates within social theory and especially in the philosophy of technology
    • Re-opens and transforms a series of classic questions in the philosophy of technology that have recently fallen out of favour
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    • Winner, 2017 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘This calm and gracious book provides us with a turning point in our understanding of the philosophy of technology and the culture of technology. It returns us to the great moral tasks of philosophy by calling our attention to the living and breathing texture of society.’ Albert Borgmann, author of Real American Ethics

    ‘A remarkable book. It covers a wide range of topics related to technology with skill and clarity. It will appeal to many readers, including those interested in the philosophy of technology and science and technology studies.’ Andrew Feenberg, Simon Fraser University, Canada

    ‘A thorough survey of contemporary social ontology and philosophy of technology. Even if you are a newcomer to these fields, you will soon find yourself in command of a wide range of material thanks to Lawson’s erudition and clarity.’ Graham Harman, author of Immaterialism: Objects and Social Theory

    'Lawson makes very skilful use of social ontology in order to approach classic issues in the philosophy of technology from a sociological perspective. A stimulating and provocative analysis for any philosopher of technology interested in the social dimension of technology.' Peter Kroes, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands

    ‘Thought-provoking, well-argued and highly readable. Lawson makes a solid case for social ontologists and theorists of technology to take each other more seriously, sets out a persuasive 'ontology of technology' of his own and applies this perspective to reveal insights across a broad range of pivotal contemporary issues. It raises a set of questions and issues that merit considerable thought after one puts it down. It is a book that deserves to be widely read.’ David Tyfield, Lancaster University

    'The need to understand our relationship with technology is becoming ever more salient in our networked high-speed society. Lawson’s fascinating book provides a fresh lens on this subject, showing that we can only grasp the specificity of technology through a philosophy of technology based on social ontology.’ Judy Wajcman, London School of Economics and Political Science

    ‘Lawson brilliantly arranges a current, concise and comprehensive survey of a range of different technology debates organized around his central theme of the ontology of isolation. The chapter on autism is exceptionally instructive and provocative.’ Hugh Willmott, Cardiff University

    'Clive Lawson’s book Technology and Isolation provides a timely and innovative study of the influence of technology on society. Lawson brings a sense of perspective and clarity, based on wide-ranging reading of the many ways that technology has been considered. He does so from a philosophical point of view. Whilst many contemporary economists might be sceptical of such an approach, it is valuable in so far as it asks important fundamental questions that tend to be omitted because of the way economists are now socialised to think and research. Technology and Isolation rewards careful reading and deserves to become a standard point of reference.' Nuno Ornelas Martins, Real-World Economics Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316632352
    • length: 242 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Technology questions
    2. Technology - from obscurity to keyword
    3. Ontology and isolation
    4. Science and technology
    5. The sociality of artefacts
    6. Technological artefacts
    7. Technology and the extension of human capabilities
    8. Technology and instrumentalisation
    9. Technology and autism
    10. Technology, recombination and speed
    11. Marx, Heidegger and technological neutrality.

  • Author

    Clive Lawson, University of Cambridge
    Clive Lawson is currently Director of Studies in Economics and Senior College Lecturer at Girton College, Cambridge, as well as Assistant Director of Studies at Gonville and Caius College. He is an editor of the Cambridge Journal of Economics and a founding member of the Cambridge Social Ontology Group. Lawson has published in economics, geography, psychology, sociology, philosophy and environmental economics.


    • Winner, 2017 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

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