28 September 2005

An Exposition of the Problem of Technology

One of the reasons why philosophy is a useful topic of research is that it allows one to learn how to compare ideas on dissimilar subjects and see if any important innovation has been made. Another thing it allows is for people to analyze what the solution to a particular problem is, partly by creating an abstract system of rendering a quandary as a set of statements, then allowing one to deduce what the resolution to that quandary is as another set of statements. For an illustration of this, I recommend this extremely handy exposition of logical fallacies (link goes directly to an example of precisely what I mean). Notice the example illustrates how one can examine a statement to see if it supports another idea.

Because of the abstract nature of philosophy, it's possible to examine a broad range of ideas to see if they have any originality. Likewise, it's possible to establish if something suggested as an example of a future dilemma is, or is not, just a play on words. So, for example, a reccurring question in political science is the comparative merits of a multi-party system: is it worthwhile for voters or political activists to seek political system that allows multiple parties to flourish, or are such systems unstable and unproductive? Since a political system is a technology of organization, what are the frontiers of that technology, i.e., what are some advances on this technology that we can look forward to? And since most improvements in the technology of human activity comes from cross-pollenation with the technologies of other human activities, what are some things we can expect will influence our "technology" of economic organization?

In future posts I'll be looking at the efforts of various people to "cross-pollenate" technologies from the realm of telecommunications and information technology (TCIT) into the reddress of social problems. For now, this post has been very abstract, because we're in the phase of outlining the method I'll use:
  1. Outline the nature of the social problem

  2. Express this as a philosophical proposition

  3. Deduce the "resolution" "symbolically"

  4. Discuss the tangible forms this might take
In the process, I'll be referring to Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen's The Entropy Law and the Economic Process (1971) and Mathematical Optimization and Economic Theory, by Michael Intriligator (1971). These might seem odd choices, but I'll explain why in a bit.



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