Enciclopedia de las tecnologías rotas : el humanista como ingeniero

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The concept “Broken Technologies” is related to the question: “Which is the benefit of humanity studies?” Of course the question is rhetorical because, how could this question be answered if the benefit was not obvious? Any answer supposes that we understand what we are asking for and the study of “what we mean” is one of the axes of the epistemology of the humanities.

Anyway, we can also put the rhetorical character of the question between brackets and try to answer it. It has to be done beginning with a historical recount of the development of the empirical sciences from the womb of theology and philosophy. This “independence process” started first with the natural sciences, which were “natural philosophy” to become positive empirical sciences of nature; next step was the independence process of the social sciences, which being “moral sciences” become “positive sciences” inspired in the epistemological model of the “empirical sciences of nature”. The study and knowledge of the world then, changed from a speculative to an empirical paradigm and the study in humanities loosed the traditional central place in the education of the youth to become a more or less “magnificence of culture”, that only rich people and rich societies could cultivate. Human studies are understood today as the development of the “individual” against the demands of the development of “society”. The situation is that most of the people in our days have very little training in human studies. The people of our century are trained to use language only for communication. The employment of language to understand the human mind is lost. Our time’s people, have some schematic knowledge about some crucial historical events, but this “historical” facts are only riddles and chronologies. We can ask our selves, which are the consequences of this for the future of society?

The referred process of epistemological independence that many new sciences followed since Galileo’s time was in fact possible because new objects of study emerged from new praxis. New social problems demanded new solutions and a new corpus of knowledge was the consequence. However, this explanation is tautological. We have to move further and deeper. We say that during this time, humanity studies survived as studies of language, history and philosophy occupying an increasingly small part of the time of study of the youth because this process followed a kind of cosificación (that is, the process which make something thing-like) of knowledge. The more things-like the object of study is, the less “human” it become. “Human” here means “phenomenal” or belonging to the Everyday world. Making science in positively terms, means to isolate some part of the Everyday world and make it abstract and independent of human intentions. That is the process behind the “experiment” and the development of the laboratory-milieu. In this sense, human studies have been deprived during Modern history of larger parts of its traditional sphere of study, those parts that easily could be isolated from the common sense of the Everyday world ’s experience. The development of mechanical methods to the study language during the 20th Century, make language studies the next sphere of the human studies that shall disconnect their activities from traditional human studies.

We live in a world that is increasingly materialized and in which cosificación is inevitable. A feeling of benefit is obviously attached to this process in that sense that the more materialized everything becomes, the more sanctioned it is. It is good for society that the world became materialized because immateriality cannot be measured and weighed. In this sense, art is more materialized than philosophy or history because art works through modelling matter, as the artisan produce artefacts. However, what is the future of the remaining parts of traditional human studies, of history, literature and philosophy? Will these studies also experience the process of cosificación? We think that this process has already begun and the time of isolation of human studies is ending. With the last developments in informatics, the mind has arrived to the state in which an important part of their immaterial corpus of intentions, feelings, and knowledge will become materialized as “virtual realities”. Ideas and images, structures and their rhythms will become noematized in computer programs that more or less analogically will reproduce their mechanisms and reduce their secrets to “procedures”. Philosophy, history, and literature will become “languages”. In other words, the epistemological process since the beginning of Modern times consists in the transformation of the dimensionalities of the object of study increasing their dignity (power). The goal is to work with realities that “can be touched and manipulated”. The more manipulated, the more beneficial they are. However, there are irreducible differences between the human science and the others. Human studies differ from natural and social studies in the grade of focalisation in the object of study. Human studies focalize in the interconnections, in the borders, boundaries or frontiers of the objects of study. Human studies focalize in the differences and therefore have “ambiguity” as their natural object of study; this makes the humanities a science of coherence. The humanities create coherence because only knowing about differences can give us the whole picture. That is why the humanistic engineer will be an “engineer of brokenness”.


  • Fernando Flores
Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Idé- och lärdomshistoria


FörlagLund University
Antal sidor134
ISBN (tryckt)978-91-633-9693-9
StatusPublished - 2011
Peer review utfördNej


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