In this eloquent guide to the meanings of the postmodern era, Albert Borgmann charts the options before us as we seek alternatives to the joyless and artificial culture of consumption. Borgmann connects the fundamental ideas driving his understanding of society's ills to every sphere of contemporary social life, and goes beyond the language of postmodern discourse to offer a powerfully articulated vision of what this new era, at its best, has in store.
"[This] thoughtful book is the first remotely realistic map out of the post modern labyrinth."—Joseph Coates, The Chicago Tribune
"Rather astoundingly large-minded vision of the nature of humanity, civilization and science."—Kirkus Reviews
Holding On to Reality is a brilliant history of information, from its inception in the natural world to its role in the transformation of culture to the current Internet mania and is attendant assets and liabilities. Drawing on the history of ideas, the details of information technology, and the boundaries of the human condition, Borgmann illuminates the relationship between things and signs, between reality and information.
"[Borgmann] has offered a stunningly clear definition of information in Holding On to Reality. . . . He leaves room for little argument, unless one wants to pose the now vogue objection: I guess it depends on what you mean by nothing."—Paul Bennett, Wired
"A superb anecdotal analysis of information for a hype-addled age."—New Scientist
"This insightful and poetic reflection on the changing nature of information is a wonderful antidote to much of the current hype about the 'information revolution.' Borgmann reminds us that whatever the reality of our time, we need 'a balance of signs and things' in our lives."—Margaret Wertheim, LA Weekly
America is a wonderful and magnificent country that affords its citizens the broadest freedoms and the greatest prosperity in the world. But it also has its share of warts. It is embroiled in a war that many of its citizens consider unjust and even illegal. It continues to ravage the natural environment and ignore poverty both at home and abroad, and its culture is increasingly driven by materialism and consumerism. But America, for better or for worse, is still a nation that we have built. So why then, asks Albert Borgmann in this most timely and urgent work, are we failing to take responsibility for it?
In Real American Ethics, Borgmann asks us to reevaluate our role in the making of American values. Taking his cue from Winston Churchill—who once observed that we shape our buildings, and then our buildings shape us—Borgmann considers the power of our most enduring institutions and the condition of our present moral makeup to propose inspired new ways in which we, as ordinary citizens, can act to improve our country. This, he shows, includes everything from where we choose to live and what we spend our money on to daunting tasks like the reshaping of our cities—habits and actions that can guide us to more accomplished and virtuous lives. Using prose that is easy and direct throughout, Borgmann’s position is grounded neither by conservative nor liberal ideology, but in his understanding that he is a devoted citizen among many.
In an age in which the blame game is the only game in town, this patriotic book is an eloquent reminder of the political strength we all wield when we work together.
How much of science is culturally constructed? How much depends on language and metaphor? How do our ideas about nature connect with reality? Can nature be "reinvented" through theme parks and malls, or through restoration?Reinventing Nature? is an interdisciplinary investigation of how perceptions and conceptions of nature affect both the individual experience and society's management of nature. Leading thinkers from a variety of fields -- philosophy, psychology, sociology, public policy, forestry, and others -- address the conflict between perception and reality of nature, each from a different perspective. The editors of the volume provide an insightful introductory chapter that places the book in the context of contemporary debates and a concluding chapter that brings together themes and draws conclusions from the dialogue.In addition to the editors, contributors include Albert Borgmann, David Graber, N. Katherine Hayles, Stephen R. Kellert, Gary P. Nabhan, Paul Shepard, and Donald Worster.
Blending social analysis and philosophy, Albert Borgmann maintains that technology creates a controlling pattern in our lives. This pattern, discernible even in such an inconspicuous action as switching on a stereo, has global effects: it sharply divides life into labor and leisure, it sustains the industrial democracies, and it fosters the view that the earth itself is a technological device. He argues that technology has served us as well in conquering hunger and disease, but that when we turn to it for richer experiences, it leads instead to a life dominated by effortless and thoughtless consumption. Borgmann does not reject technology but calls for public conversation about the nature of the good life. He counsels us to make room in a technological age for matters of ultimate concern—things and practices that engage us in their own right.