Category: Anthropology

Disruption

Silicon Valley is famous for ‘disrupting’ business models and whole industries through innovative technology: this language – of technological disruption – is also a coded way of saying…

Behind the Screen

At this point in our conversation, Melinda’s partner dipped back into the darkened living room in which we were meeting and chimed in with her own summation, based…

Re-engineering humanity

We could focus on some specific intelligence-related characteristics that have often been identified in the definitional debates about what makes us human. Here is a short list of…

Addiction by design

I undertake what the philosopher of technology Don Ihde has alternately called a “phenomenology of human-technology” and “materialist phenomenology”. Such an approach avoids the tendency of strict materialism…

Fuzzy semantics

In this article I have suggested that the grammatical ambiguity and logical fallacies entailed in the concept of technology are linked with a fetishistic perception of modern artefacts….

Alien belief systems

Reason is a great naturalizer, and public reason naturalizes much that seems arbitrary in politics. Once we are persuaded of the reasonableness of an argument or action, it…

Three potentialities

In a range of texts—popular, scientific, anthropological—potentiality is used to denote very different things but tends to be employed with such straightforwardness that one hardly notices slippages in…

Idealistic resilience

One curiosity about a cycle of disruptive fixation is that many of the people who take part in it manage to repair and maintain their idealism, at least…