The Philosophy of Praxis

08Dec15

Critical Theory of Information

As for the expression of opinion, it astonishes me that philosophers go on talking about politics without examining the role of the mass media. How can anyone take seriously discussions of democracy that ignore the single biggest elephant in the room, namely Donald Trump? Surely philosophers too get robo-calls and watch the news. The role of the media is now absolutely fundamental.

Technology is at the center of group and opinion formation. Philosophical arguments about politics need to be rethought with this in mind. The obstacle is the notion that technology, like science, is an expression of a non-social, purely rational relation to the objective world. This neutralizes technology and masks its political significance. A philosophy that addresses the real world must begin by criticizing this assumption. Technology is contingent on social forces as much as on scientific knowledge of nature. Society is a technological phenomenon as well as a social one, or rather, there are only social phenomena because technology is there to mediate human relations.

Making these connections is difficult for people who divide the world into “facts” and “values,” “mind” and “matter,” “society” and “nature,” and so on. These are the reified antinomies of classical philosophy, still alive and well in philosophy departments and now become common sense. The overcoming of these antinomies is the program of what I call the “philosophy of praxis.” I have taken a long time to get to the book. Perhaps I should stop here and wait for the next question to say more about it.

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