Harmonising physis and techne: The mediating role of philosophy

L. Floridi

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


    An interesting way of looking at the history of cultures is in terms of the increasing distance of human life from the natural course of events, thanks to an everthickening layer of technological mediations. A culture (not necessarily a good
    culture, let alone a civilization) emerges when a society is able to detach itself from the physical world (physis), and generate sufficient resources to express itself with some stability. From the division of labour to sheer oppression, from the invention of tools to the creation of weapons, there must be at least a fissure between surviving and living, where the seeds of a culture can take root non-ephemerally. A culture
    therefore can be pre-historical (no recordings) but hardly pre-technological; “hardly” because, exceptionally, such breaking away from physis may be achievable by barehanded individuals in unaided contexts. In theory, nothing prevents extraordinary people from planting some cultural seeds even when life is flattened into survival twodimensionally, here and now. In practice, however, cultures tend to emerge and flourish
    only behind the dam provided by some techne. Even embittered stylites need pillars on which to stand, and peasants to bring food.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-3
    Number of pages3
    JournalPhilosophy and Technology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011


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