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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 29, Issue 2, 2019

Philosophy in an Age of Crisis, Part II

Sheldon Richmond
Pages 123-145
DOI: 10.5840/du201929226

Post-Knowledge
The Extinction of Knowledge in Our Techno-Scientific Culture

The monopolization of our techno-scientific culture by digital information technology, the Technopoly has unintentionally resulted in the extinction of knowledge or postknowledge, by reducing knowledge to systems of symbols—formalized algorithmic hierarchies of symbol-systems without external reference; a totalistic virtuality, or real virtuality. The extinction of knowledge or post-knowledge has resulted in two mutually reinforcing situations. One situation is the rise of a new elite of technology experts. The other situation is the dummification of people. These two mutually reinforcing situations further result in an illegitimate role reversal between people and their machines. The machines become treated as smart; people become treated as dummies. The role reversal of machines and people reinforces the monopoly of digital technology over everything. The monopoly of digital techno-scientific culture, the Technopoly, becomes accepted without question and without criticism. However, there is a way to retrieve knowledge, and that way is through restoring the (Ionian) tradition of critical discussion within all our institutions. Critical discussion can be restored by increasing democratic participation in our techno-scientific culture, which amounts to implementing a Socratic social architecture.