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.

Author: Mezibar Nizuru
Country: French Guiana
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Sex
Published (Last): 4 August 2013
Pages: 439
PDF File Size: 13.68 Mb
ePub File Size: 10.62 Mb
ISBN: 527-6-43209-222-6
Downloads: 76645
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Momi

Engaging in focal practices like running or cultivating thinge meals is clearly possible for all of us to do even if only because our technological society has given us that opportunity! The author gives us the blueprint, but we must supply the materials and situate the structure.

I run with my dog because it makes her happy and I love seeing the park and the sky every day. It contrasts with the consolation and vitality that generally result from focal practices.

View all posts by Jonathan Lipps. So what is it all about?

God giving himself for the world. If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian. He calls this state of increasing reliance device paradigmwhich refers to the cluster of technological phenomena that includes “the cultural displacements, the commodification and mechanization, and their embedding in contemporary culture.

Borgmann examines two in the course of the chapter: The answer is that literacy on the part of the reader generates the wealth of information a viewer receives without charge. Literacy, while in ongoing struggle with its more titillating competitors of the digital audio-visual realm, still remains an important means of experiencing silence, recollection and reflection.

Jonathan Lipps Jonathan is a Director of Open Source at Sauce Labsleading a team of open source developers to improve the web and mobile testing ecosystem. Search my Subject Specializations: They engage our better sides: Our entertainment is now available from the comfort of our couches or desk chairs, at will, twenty-four hours a day.

The Recovery of “Focal Practices”

He reminds 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. In the philosophy of technologythe device paradigm is the way ” technological devices ” are perceived and consumed in modern society, according to Albert Borgmann. The same goes for our daily work and leisure activities. Everyone can run or make a meal from scratch.


Melville, Thoreau, Pirsig, and Maclean are all helpful. And so ultimately the rule of technology, which we have been examining all these chapters, is stronger than any ad hoc willpower we might possess. As technological devices increase the availability of a commodity or service, they also push these devices into the background where people do not pay attention to their destructive tendencies.

Blogging Borgmann: TCCL Chapter 23, “Focal Things and Practices” – Re:Creation

The initial investment of effort — the “getting into” a book, acquiring the borgmanj for the tree fort — is often a deterrent, yet that extra exertion to organize and enter into such activities is proportionate to the payoff.

Even instruction manuals for hiking or backpacking can have strikingly deep philosophical reflection and insight.

Reading is essentially a contemplative pursuit, which, like prayer, embodies an “active receptivity” to the world, while engaging the deeper dimensions of the intellect and soul. Technological eating is divided into form and function; in a festive family meal, eating once again engages us fully. Borgmann is not anti-technology, but he believes that as the major benefits are largely recognized, the job of the philosopher of technology is to pay attention to its cultural and human liabilities and losses.

Technology’s relationship with democracy is at best an uneasy one, especially given Borgmann’s claim that our modern devices are not mere value-neutral instruments. Instead, practitioners the runners themselves, for example have been the ones who have been witnesses of the focal power of these practices. 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: 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.

Nature was a good one! These are the activities that have been obliterated by the readily available entertainment offered by TV. Our technologies should be our tools, not our masters, putting the lie to McLuhan’s dictum “we make our tools and then our tools make us” — or at least minimizing that effect.


This is a limitation of focal practices that we need to examine if, as Borgmann thinks, they can be the ground for a more widespread reform of technology that reaches into the public sphere. Classical, Early, and Medieval Plays and Playwrights: I enjoyed your take on Borgmann: Stories are now available from the comfort of our couches, at will and at any time.

Plato once said that we become what we contemplate. A place where there is respite from the striving for consumption and a restoration of the depth of the world.

Unfortunately running outside and homemade meals are nowadays fleeting experiences. In them, information and practices need to be analysed in a more nuanced way.

The Recovery of “Focal Practices”

borgmanj Our antagonist today is the deadening effect of technology, but this antagonist is hard to see. In pre-technological societies, they were often done so with some mythic purpose or backstory, showing how this particular practice enacts something we all know or desire to be true cosmically, for example as in the Eucharist, a practice established to commemorate not just a specific event but the cosmic reality that event signified: A simple jug by its shape and purpose discloses what it means to hold as well as to give.

Nice image and well described in your post. We can find two senses of it: Thus to read is to gather our past and illuminate our present. Borgmann analyses what occurs when we read: Apart from being the project lead of Appiumhe has worked as a programmer in tech startups for over a decade, but is also passionate about academic discussion.

This page was last edited on 8 Octoberat Jonathan is a Director of Open Source at Sauce Labsleading a team of open source developers to improve the web and mobile testing ecosystem. In short, the future is anyone’s guess. Literacy is a many-storied skill, rising from word-recognition via parsing to comprehension. In order for such activities to prosper and compete with device paradigm temptations, it is important that one loves the focal practice, so it not simply become pursued out of guilt or mere necessity.