Crossing the Postmodern Divide with Borgmann, or Adventures in Cyberspace

Douglas Kellner

in Technology and the Good Life?

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2000 | ISBN: 9780226333861
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226333885 | DOI:
Crossing the Postmodern Divide with Borgmann, or Adventures in Cyberspace

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This chapter argues for a moderate position on the changes we are now experiencing in material culture. On the one hand, it objects to Borgmann's claim that we really are at a point of crossing from modernity to postmodernity, arguing instead that our present cultural position is much more complex and confusing than Borgmann makes it out to be. Also, while the chapter agrees with Borgmann's claim that technology is a major force in postmodernity, it argues that technology is not the only shaping force in postmodernism. We also must pay attention to the forces of capitalism. On the other hand, the chapter also seeks the counterbalance of something like Borgmann's postmodern realism, where focal things weigh against devices. The chapter argues that as technology supplements face-to-face contact and encounter with things, it can actually help to form a richer life for those who avail themselves of it. It illustrates this argument with examples from cyberspace.

Keywords: cyberspace; material culture; modernity; postmodernity; technology; focal things; realism

Chapter.  9214 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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