George Grant, Technology, Demythologization, Nature, Steven Vogel
George Grant argues that modern innovations in technology are delineated by what he terms ‘the co-penetration of art and science’, which disposes their rational methods towards the satisfaction of while in a purported ‘spirit of creativity’. Though such a spirit has provided many benefits, a natural worry arises as to what may be justified, morally, within the parameters of such creativity. For Grant, such skepticism is well-founded as the gradual expansion of technology is co-measure with ‘demythologization’, that is, the loss of any sense of objective, transcendent purpose. Noting how this worrying trend invites a dangerous premise of making human life subordinate to such creative drives, Grant asserts that the highly individualistic nature of modern technological thinking ultimately challenges the idea of human dignity itself. However, in his Thinking Like a Mall, Steven Vogel argues for the non-existence of nature by attempting to demonstrate that the entire world is simply the result of Man’s artifice. Labelling such projects as technological, Vogel goes on to say that each technology’s ‘wildness’ prevents it from being absorbed into projects of mastery, negating concerns that technology will attempt to master human nature. Yet in presenting Grant’s historical examination of the idea of technology, particularly as it relates to the ideas of ‘progress’ and Nietzsche’s critique of the same, I will argue that Vogel’s view of technology is ultimately inadequate as it does not satisfactorily what Grant identifies as the novelty of current technological thinking, which relates to the profound lack of a ‘myth’ to contextualize our moral decision making in modern technological thinking. Rather, Vogel’s account is rather static inasmuch as it equivocates technology with artifacts and does not pay adequate attention to how the idea of technology has developed, particularly in recent history. As such, Vogel’s moral program fails to address the issues that Grant raises, and thus reinscribes the most harmful aspects of technological thinking.
Master of Arts
Major Research Paper