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Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology

Volume 21, Issue 2/3, 2017

Special Issue on the Anthropocene

Agostino Cera
Pages 243-281
DOI: 10.5840/techne201710472

The Technocene or Technology as (Neo)Environment

Abstract: While putting forward the proposal of a “philosophy of technology in the nominative case,” grounded on the concept of Neoenvironmentality, this paper intends to argue that the best definition of our current age is not “Anthropocene.” Rather, it is “Technocene,” since technology represents here and now the real “subject of history” and of (a de-natured) nature, i.e. the (neo)environment where man has to live. This proposal culminates in a new definition of man’s humanity and of technology. Switching from natura hominis to conditio humana, the peculiarity of man can be defined on the basis of an anthropic perimeter, the core of which consists of man’s worldhood: man is that being that has a world (Welt), while animal has a mere environment (Umwelt). Both man’s worldhood and animal’s environmentality are derived from a pathic premise, namely the fundamental moods (Grundstimmungen) that refer them to their respective findingness (Befindlichkeit). From this anthropological premise, technology emerges as the oikos of contemporary humanity. Technology becomes the current form of the world – and so gives birth to a Technocene – insofar as it introduces in any human context its ratio operandi and so assimilates man to an animal condition, i.e. an environmental one. Technocene corresponds on the one side to the emergence of technology as (Neo)environment and on the other to the feralization of man. The spirit of Technocene turns out to be the complete redefinition of the anthropic perimeter. While providing a non-ideological characterization of the current age, this paper proposes the strategy of an ‘anthropological conservatism,’ that is to say a pathic desertion understood as a possible (pre)condition for the beginning of an authentic Anthropocene, i.e. the age of an-at-last-entirely-human-man.

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