Blogging Borgmann: TCCL Chapter 23, “Focal Things and Practices” and the Character of Contemporary Life (TCCL) by Albert Borgmann. The chapter’s meditation on things and practices, with its thoughtfully selected and well-developed examples, appeals to those who might not know Borgmann’s . This article considers the question of technology and the good life. It argues for a strong thematic connection between Albert Borgmann’s thought and Japanese.

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Technology and the Good Life? The concept of the device paradigm is a critical response to the Heidegger ‘s notion of Gestell. Saturday, May 12, Focal Things and Practices. In short, the future is anyone’s guess.

Every parent knows it is far more effortless to let children turn on the television or gaming console, than try to settle them into a book, art activity, or play acting. We continuously compensate, he argues, by using more and borgjann technologies. Because of our technological capabilities or our human uniqueness, we often stand over or against the world; coming into immediate contact with the world is therefore something special, and this happens in a meal: There is a purposeful, even contemplative quality to these activities as opposed to the more frenetic and multitasking spirit of our electronic activities.

According to Borgmann, focal things and practices are bborgmann human activities that make life meaningful. Technology, on the other hand, is for him a metaphysical development that deals in pure conditionality—what might or might not be the case in whatever circumstance. Now for the next stage — turning this into a paper….

Focal Things and Focal Practices – Chicago Scholarship

Civil War American History: Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. What we do know is that our technologies transform our lives — often dramatically. This is excellent, as far as Borgmann is concerned, for these people can actually speak deictically to us!


Using or not using the interstate highway system is not a matter of choice anymore for most of us, and neither are the moral consequences of long commutes and the neglect of family, neighborhood, and inner city.

It explains the intimate relationship between people, things and technological devices, defining most economic relations and also shapes social and moral relations in general.

Therefore, a device is seen as “the compound of commodity and machinery” while “the distinctive pattern of division and connection of its components is the device paradigm. In the end, the question should be, do our gadgets assist or detract from our primary vocation in life — do they help us be people who love and serve.

Posted by John O’Brien at 9: He picks these in part because he believes that we have all borgann in some way or another the feeling horgmann a run or at least a brisk walkand a simple good meal at home in the presence of good company, and that we will understand the contrast between them and sitting indoors for weeks, or grabbing a quick meal from a fast-food chain.

Only with some investment comes reward. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Views Read Edit View history. There are human practices, however, that counter the trend of virtualizing life. Our antagonist today is the deadening effect of technology, but this antagonist is hard to see.

Focal things and practices

He believes that human work is often unfulfilling for many people, that our leisure activities are not ennobling, and that at a deep level, the culture knows this and is profoundly uneasy. To read comprehendingly is to follow the author’s instruction in the construction of an imaginary world. So what is pratcices all about?

The convenience is almost irresistible, for as Borgmann writes, “the pracyices of technology parctices one of material and social liberty, the promise of disburdenment from the pains and limits of things and the claims and foibles of humans.

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In the philosophy of technologythe device paradigm is the way ” technological devices ” are perceived and consumed in modern society, according to Albert Borgmann. The previous chapter took Nature as an intuitive source of helpful challenges to the technological paradigm.

Device paradigm

The author gives us the blueprint, but we must supply the materials and situate the structure. A focal thing is something of ultimate concern and significance, which may be masked by the device paradigm, and must be preserved by its intimate connection with practice.

They come into being through either our explicit resolution or an implicit nurturing that becomes a solid custom. Print Save Cite Email Xnd. Engaging in focal practices like running or cultivating homemade meals is clearly possible for all of us to do even if only focsl our technological society has given us that opportunity! It is a focal activity that collects our world as a convex lens does and radiates back into our world as does a concave mirror. Has letter-writing thhings totally superseded by email?

He tuings us that not all conveniences are healthy, just as not all inconveniences are unhealthy, and that certain practices should not be blithely abandoned without reflection.

Unless we have seen its patterns and felt its debilitating effect on our lives, it will be hard to find energy to found focal practices in opposition to it. Thus, technology may play a greater role in determining the character of the good life than any of the founders of the liberal democratic tradition imagined.

Focal practices require either actual silence or an open disposition to achieving an inner silence. They might be characterized as activities that engage our better sides: