Our War on Ourselves: Rethinking Science, Technology, and Economic Growth

By Willem H. Vanderburg

© 2012

Our approach to knowing and doing is based on delegating physical phenomena to physicists, biological phenomena to biologists, social phenomena to sociologists, economic phenomena to economists, and so on. This approach to knowledge and practice works very well when one category of phenomena dominates (as in mechanical and technical systems), but does not work when many categories of phenomena make significant contributions (as in the biological and cultural spheres). As a result, our civilization succeeds in its scientific and technical endeavours yet fails in dealing with communities and ecosystems.

Following his groundbreaking Labyrinth of Technology and Living in the Labyrinth of Technology, Willem H. Vanderburg's Our War on Ourselves explores the type of war we have unleashed on our lives by emphasizing discipline-based processes. The work also illuminates how we can achieve a more balanced, livable, and sustainable future by combining technical and cultural perspectives in our educational and institutional settings.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 400 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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  • PUBLISHED NOV 2011

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  • PUBLISHED NOV 2011

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Quick Overview

Willem H. Vanderburg's Our War on Ourselves explores the type of war we have unleashed on our lives by emphasizing discipline-based processes.

Our War on Ourselves: Rethinking Science, Technology, and Economic Growth

By Willem H. Vanderburg

© 2012

Our approach to knowing and doing is based on delegating physical phenomena to physicists, biological phenomena to biologists, social phenomena to sociologists, economic phenomena to economists, and so on. This approach to knowledge and practice works very well when one category of phenomena dominates (as in mechanical and technical systems), but does not work when many categories of phenomena make significant contributions (as in the biological and cultural spheres). As a result, our civilization succeeds in its scientific and technical endeavours yet fails in dealing with communities and ecosystems.

Following his groundbreaking Labyrinth of Technology and Living in the Labyrinth of Technology, Willem H. Vanderburg's Our War on Ourselves explores the type of war we have unleashed on our lives by emphasizing discipline-based processes. The work also illuminates how we can achieve a more balanced, livable, and sustainable future by combining technical and cultural perspectives in our educational and institutional settings.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 400 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    ‘Astounding, urgent, and highly accessible, Our War on Ourselves takes its place rightly alongside other crucial texts about what it is to live (or try to) in our world. This greatly important book lays bare the many difficulties we face living in a society organized for, by, and around technology, then provides the solutions we will need if we want to regain our lives. Willem H. Vanderburg writes with the passion and clarity of the very best scholarship, bringing together deep insights on politics, economics, high technology, and spirituality in a manner that few writers can. Our War on Ourselves clearly represents an enormous investment of thought, care, and love for the world, and it will be read by professionals from all disciplines, as well as citizens who truly care about our planet and its inhabitants.‘
    Tim Blackmore, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario

    ‘A major and highly original contribution to the social sciences, Our War on Ourselves is also important from an experiential standpoint. Using the best general theory of culture that we have, Willem H. Vanderburg tackles the most pressing existential problem of our time - the loss of meaning and the collapse of cultural unity. This book should appeal to all serious readers and everyone in academic life, especially those who have begun to question our terminal overspecialization.‘
    Richard Stivers, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Illinois State University
  • Author Information

    Willem H. Vanderburg is the founding director of the Centre for Technology and Social Development and is now Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto.

  • Table of contents

    CONTENTS

    Preface

    Introduction
    A CIVILIZATION OF NON-SENSE?
    Failure to Connect the Dots?
    Science as Biased Knowing
    Technology as Biased Doing
    Opposing Biases
    Some Consequences
    Where Do We Go From Here?
    How We Shall Proceed

    Chapter 1
    SYMBOLIZATION: GETTING IN TOUCH WITH OURSELVES AND THE WORLD
    Living a Life
    Babies Getting in Touch with Themselves and the World
    Words as Signs
    Language and Order
    The Self and Cultural Order
    The True and the Real
    Myths and the True
    The True, the Other, and Myself

    Chapter 2
    DESYMBOLIZATION: LOSING TOUCH WITH OURSELVES AND THE WORLD
    Undermining Symbolization
    Television as an Introduction to What Is Real
    Computers as the Playground of What Is Real
    High School Science as the Imagination of What Is Real
    The Emerging Order of What Is Real

    Chapter 3
    COLLIDING ORDERS AND THE TRIUMPH OF THE REAL
    Re-engineering a Symbolic Species
    The Emerging Technological Order
    A Growing Dependence on Matter and Energy
    The Emerging Economic Order
    Desymbolizing the Cultural Order
    Making the Collision Liveable

    Chapter 4
    THE TRIUMPH OF THE TECHNICAL ORDER OVER CULTURAL ORDERS
    Symbolization and Traditions
    Desymbolization and Tradition-Based Knowing and Doing
    Rationality within Culture
    Technique within Culture
    The Economy within the Technical Order
    Possessed by New Myths
    The University as a Bridgehead?

    Chapter 5
    DESYMBOLIZATION AND RESYMBOLIZATION
    Is Resymbolization Possible?
    A Starting Point
    Resymbolizing Economics
    Resymbolizing the Social Sciences
    Resymbolizing Engineering
    Resymbolizing Management
    Resymbolizing Medicine
    Resymbolizing Legal Education
    Community Colleges

    Epilogue: Power and Non-power

    Notes

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