King Ludd: Kellner Statement

Some brief comments for opening: Mind/body dualisms are never helpful: they are an outmoded conceptual apparatus of modern philosophy--going back to Greek and classical philosophy. They are merely conceptual constructs that served certain strategic functions but also generated unproductive philosophical debates (ie. primacy of mind or matter, idealism vs materialism) which generated problematical hierarchies and binary oppositions (i.e. reason vs passion, man and woman, appearence and reality, etc). We need to move beyond such philosophical debates to explore how new technologies are changing every aspect of our economy, politics, society, culture, psyches, and sense of reality. Indeed, the new technologies are literally creating new realities, new spaces for interaction, new identities, new social practices, and.... the list goes on and on. What is at stake is not translating these novelties into already existing discourses and categories (esp classical philosophy) but to rethink-- everything! What is at stake is also creating new progressive possibilities for using these technologies and democratizing their use, making sure that they are accessible to everyone. This involves rethinking politics and seeing the importance of media politics, a politics of technology, and rethinking concepts such as democracy, participation, interaction, etc in the light of these new technologies. Indeed, we must rethink technology itself and people's attitudes toward technology. Neo-Luddism seems especially unhelpful and I found Ann Kaplan's comments helpful concerning how new technologies always elicit contradictory responses ranging from the extremely ecstatic and celebatory to the demonizing and hysterical. This happened in relation to the telegraph, radio, film, television, and is now happening in relation to computers and other new technologies. Thus we have to avoid the extremes of uncritically embracing these technologies in the mode of technophilia, as well as demonizing them in the mode of technophobia. We need to see their positive as well as negative effects and to define what is positive and negative in various usages (as well as what we mean by positive and negative that will be different in different contexts). In other words, we need new critical theories of technology and to develop them concretely through thinking through the new technologies. I hope that today's conference will assist us in these important tasks and I thank the organizers for the possibility to participate.

Douglas Kellner

Back to IATH WWW Server
Copyright 1995 by Douglas Kellner, all rights reserved
Document URL:
Last Modified: