1 (of 5). How Does Technology Change Our Thinking Patterns?
Nicholas Carr might be the best thing going for discussions on how technology, particularly the internet, influences the way we think. Check out this podcast at his blog, Rough Type, where he attempts a brief (Western) intellectual history of way that maps, mechanical clocks, and the printed book have changed our modes of perception and apprehension. Carr is perhaps best known for a bestselling book titled The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google. None of this is earth-shattering by itself, except in that Carr has been taking lessons from the past and applying them to internet. Is anyone else doing better, or equal, than Carr in terms of reflecting on how the internet is reworking our minds?
2. What Is Jürgen Habermas’ Significance To U.S. Intellectual Historians?
Courtesy of Brian Leiter’s Reports, I learned that a new biography on Jürgen Habermas is out. Authored by Matthew Specter, Peter E. Gordon reviewed the book at The New Republic. Leiter believes Habermas’ importance as a philosopher is overstated, but thinks that Gordon (and Specter) get Habermas’ role as a public intellectual about right. The comments on the Leiter thread are of interest. I’m not knowledgeable enough about Habermas to confirm or deny statements about his importance or unimportance. And no graduate or undergraduate class of mine required Habermas, either as a book or excerpted (which amazes me). Nevertheless, I have a copy of The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society on my shelf. Apparently, however, that book is more historical than philosophical, and therefore should be of interest to intellectual historians. What is the significance of Habermas to you? Or why should he be of interest to intellectual historians?
3. New Periodical: The Journal For The History Of Analytical Philosophy
Here’s the site. I found these lines from the journal’s self-description to be of interest (bolds mine): “JHAP takes the history of analytical philosophy to be part of analytical philosophy. Accordingly, it publishes historical research that interacts with the ongoing concerns of analytical philosophy and with the history of other twentieth century philosophical traditions.”
4. Who Is The “Americanized Heidegger”?
Courtesy again of Brian Leiter, I learned that there is a distinction in the literature between Martin Heidegger’s significance in Europe versus the United States—aside from the distinction between his philosophy and personal failings (i.e. Nazism). Leiter introduces this distinction in the context of discussing a 1999 BBC documentary on Heidegger (49 minutes, Richard Rorty makes an appearance). But I suspect that we intellectual historians would be better served by tackling Martin Woessner‘s new book, Heidegger in America (Cambridge, 2010). Here’s the blurb from the Cambridge site:
The German philosopher Martin Heidegger was one of the most influential and controversial thinkers of the twentieth century. Offering a novel account of Heidegger’s place in the recent history of ideas, Heidegger in America explores the surprising legacy of his life and thought in the United States of America. As a critic of modern life, Heidegger often lamented the growing global influence of all things American. But it was precisely in America where his thought inspired the work of generations of thinkers – not only philosophers but also theologians, architects, novelists, and even pundits. As a result, the reception and dissemination of Heidegger’s philosophical writings transformed the intellectual and cultural history of the United States at a time when American influence was itself transforming the world. A case study in the complex and sometimes contradictory process of transnational exchange, Heidegger in America recasts the scope and methods of contemporary intellectual and cultural history in the age of globalization, while challenging what we think we know about Heidegger and American ideas simultaneously.
5. A New Philosophy of History?
Christopher Shannon appropriates Alasdair MacIntyre‘s idea of tradition to introduce a new “approach to the study of the past” in the January 2011 issue of Historically Speaking. I’m eager to check this out. Have any USIH readers read the essay already? The same issue offers responses from Mark Weiner, Daniel Wickberg, and Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn—as well as a final rejoinder from Shannon. Aside: I love the dialectical presentation of topics in each HS issue. Mortimer Adler would’ve appreciated it. 🙂 – TL