The Odyssey of Instrumental Rationality: Confronting the Englightenment's Interior Other

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Title: The Odyssey of Instrumental Rationality: Confronting the Englightenment's Interior Other
Authors: Kavanagh, Donncha
Kuhling, Carmen
Keohane, Kieran
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/5857
Date: 2005
Abstract: In this paper we advocate and demonstrate the value of science fiction as a potent way of ‘practicalising philosophy.’ Science fiction narratives provide an ideal-typical setting through which theory can be represented, clarified and developed. They also help us link the abstraction of theory and the messiness of practice, while partly side-stepping the enigma whereby any study of the empirical world may merely reflect back the particular ontologies and epistemologies that constitute that world. In particular, we claim that the television series Star Trek provides a powerful metaphor for understanding and teaching certain themes regarding modernity, including the possibility of universal progress through economic expansion (capitalism, colonialism), technological development (industrialism, positivism), and the possibilities for universal emancipation (democracy). We especially focus on the Borg Collective, a form of life that has become one of the most enduring and critical mirrors that Star Trek has held up to contemporary society, and which can be usefully understood as a metaphor for the dark side of instrumental rationality. The paper draws on the various encounters between the Enterprise and the Borg to illustrate and engage with the diverse writings of Weber, the Frankfurt School, Habermas, Foucault, and Haraway on modernity’s continuing and ambivalent struggle with instrumental rationality.
Type of material: Book Chapter
Publisher: Routledge
Keywords: Science fiction--Philosophy;Modern civilization
Language: en
Status of Item: Not peer reviewed
Is part of: Linstead, S. and Linstead, A. (eds.). Thinking Organization
Appears in Collections:Business Research Collection

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