NETFUTURE

                    Technology and Human Responsibility

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Issue #158                                                November 9, 2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 A Publication of The Nature Institute
           Editor:  Stephen L. Talbott (stevet@netfuture.org)

                  On the Web: http://www.netfuture.org/
     You may redistribute this newsletter for noncommercial purposes.

Can we take responsibility for technology, or must we sleepwalk
in submission to its inevitabilities?  NetFuture is a voice for
responsibility.  It depends on the generosity of those who support
its goals.  To make a contribution, click here.


CONTENTS
---------

Editor's Note

The Reduction Complex (Stephen L. Talbott)
   What happens when cognition becomes too grasping?

DEPARTMENTS

About this newsletter


==========================================================================

                              EDITOR'S NOTE

The article below culminates (for the time being, at least) my series on
the mechanistic tendency in modern thought.  I try here to characterize in
a rather more systematic way the interwoven notions of materialism,
mechanism, and reductionism, and I touch for the first time upon their
moral aspect.  The lengthy essay will not be for everyone, but all readers
may wish to look at the first three sections: "Reductionism in Context",
"A Defining Gesture", and "Fighting for Possession of the Truth".  I also
suggest you check out the concluding section, "Incoherence".

This essay is part of a growing collection entitled "From Mechanism to a
Science of Qualities", available at
http://natureinstitute.org/txt/st/mqual.
The collection, which is subject to continual revision (your critical comments are invited!), includes several essays that have not previously appeared in NetFuture. It will now be a relief to turn my main attention to a more positive characterization of qualitative science. After all, any critique of mechanistic thinking must appear lifeless except insofar as it grows out of a positive vision. On the other hand, once the positive vision is sketched, the critique will become much more than a critique; it will be an invitation, not only to a different way of doing science, not only a different way of relating to technology, but also to a different way of being human. SLT Goto table of contents ========================================================================== THE REDUCTION COMPLEX Habits of the Technological Mind #5 Stephen L. Talbott (stevet@netfuture.org) Materialism, mechanism, reductionism -- these are strange and slippery terms, easily abused by both advocates and opponents. You realize that they must be slipp