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Technology and the Good Life?$
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Eric Higgs, Andrew Light, and David Strong Strong

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780226333861

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226333885.001.0001

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Technology and Nostalgia

Technology and Nostalgia

(p.70) Four Technology and Nostalgia
Technology and the Good Life?

Gordon G. Brittan

University of Chicago Press

This chapter is concerned with Borgmann's critique of liberal democracy and his larger argument that technology fails to provide the kind of good life we expect from it. After evaluating these claims, this chapter argues that a good reason for limiting technology can be found instead by an appeal to the core concern of liberal democracy: freedom. While technology provides the basis for liberal democratic freedom, it can also threaten our autonomy by making us too dependent on devices. In the interest of freedom, we should reform technology so that we regain and retain a measure of essential self-sufficiency. Thus, to reform technology we could avoid entering into the endlessly controversial questions of the good life invited by Borgmann's critique and reform of technology. How can we evaluate what Borgmann calls the life of consumption or technology as a way of life? The chapter addresses the question of how successful Borgmann's tests are concerning the failure of technology to procure a good life.

Keywords:   technology, liberal democracy, good life, freedom, devices, self-sufficiency

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