Technology and Temporal Ambiguity

Mora Campbell

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:
Technology and Temporal Ambiguity

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This chapter makes use of the idea of temporal ambiguity, the condition of discordant synchronous events in one's life. Imagining a world that could be otherwise would involve resolving the deeper problems that Borgmann shows with technology. The chapter finds attractive the notion that undesirable kinds of ambiguity can be eliminated through focal things and practices. But reform needs to go further to meet the additional concerns with social changes, addressing gender, cross-cultural differences, and a greater appreciation for the continuity between humans, other living beings, and the natural world. For instance, while Borgmann speaks well of traditional focal things and practices, the function of gender never complicates this picture. Moreover, from the standpoint of temporal ambiguity, focal things and practices are too limited since they are caught up within the private home, leisure time only, and the Gregorian calendar. “Unless focal practices serve to shift this overall pattern, they cannot, in temporal terms, significantly reorient the context of our lives.”

Keywords: temporal ambiguity; technology; focal things; social change; gender; focal practices

Chapter.  6713 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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