What we're reading

Hyperthematics:
The Logic of Value

Marc Andersen

Marc presents a new and unique method for developing principles to be applied in creating and increasing value.

In this innovative work, Marc presents an account of value and value creation, which both defines value and introduces a method to manipulate value practically. Using this new methodology, Anderson first explores where value lies in experience, both human and otherwise, uncovering tendencies in human action and the natural world that create and destroy value. From that analysis, he generates practical principles to be applied in creating value in any region or discipline of human experience, at any scale, including corporate organization and product design, economics, the sciences, the arts, urban and architectural design, and sustainable development. He tests this methodology by focusing on the organization and production of commercial corporations in particular, suggesting ways to rethink and transform organization, product creation, and the contemporary currency system. He considers the implications for the many intersections of corporate production with human life, from urban planning, medicine, and food production to pornography, weaponry, and environmental engagement, with corresponding suggestions for transformation toward value. Throughout, Hyperthematics examines complexity, the nature of objects, the inevitable future intermingling of science and ethics, and assumptions driving the contemporary culture wars.

Innovation and Development:
The Politics at the Bottom of the Pyramid

Mario Pansera

Innovation, often tempered by the language of inclusion, has become an indispensable element of contemporary development policy and practice in the so-called Global South. Driven by multinational companies, public–private partnerships and social enterprises, “innovation for development” aims to co-produce social goods (things of value) such as poverty alleviation with associated profit through innovative market-led solutions, opening up untapped and unserved markets in the developing world and exploiting the potential “fortune at the bottom of the pyramid”. But innovation for development is a contested notion with the capacity to shelter multiple political agendas.

By reviewing existing academic theory and discussing four in-depth case studies from Bangladesh and India, this book interrogates how innovation for development is being framed, its politics and the impacts it is having on rural communities on the ground. The analysis suggests both an emerging hegemony constructed around a neoliberal, market-led agenda and the existence of countervailing voices that question this framing, sometimes radically so.

Logic:
Thinking from Images to Digits

Randall Auxier

Randy rethinks teaching logic and avoids the mistakes of the critical thinking movement and extensional logic.

Through a sustained analysis of ordinary thinking and the development of an intensional structure influenced by Whitehead and Royce, Randy delivers a textbook suitable for the future of thinking.

Liberalism:
Pro & Con

Stephen Hicks

Stephen identifies the most influential arguments for liberalism and presents them in their strongest form, with supporting material from leading and historical proponents on either side. He then does the same with the most influential arguments against liberalism.

The Age of Disruption:
Technology and Madness in Computational Capitalism

Bernard Stiegler

Half a century ago Adorno and Horkheimer argued, with great prescience, that our increasingly rationalized world was witnessing the emergence of a new kind of barbarism, thanks in part to the stultifying effects of the culture industries. What they could not foresee was that, with the digital revolution and the pervasive automation associated with it, the developments they had discerned would be greatly accentuated, giving rise to the loss of reason and to the loss of the reason for living. Individuals are now overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of digital information and the speed of digital flows, resulting in a kind of technological Wild West in which they find themselves increasingly powerless, driven by their lack of agency to the point of madness.

How can we find a way out of this situation? In this major new book, Bernard Stiegler argues that we must first acknowledge our era as one of fundamental disruption and detachment. We are living in an absence of epokhē in the philosophical sense, by which Stiegler means that we have lost our path of thinking and being. Weaving in powerful accounts from his own life story, including struggles with depression and time spent in prison, Stiegler calls for a new epokhē based on public power. We must forge new circuits of meaning outside of the established algorithmic routes. For only then will forms of thinking and life be able to arise that restore meaning and aspiration to the individual.

Concluding with a dialogue between Stiegler and Jean-Luc Nancy, this book will be of great interest to students and scholars in social and cultural theory, media and cultural studies, philosophy and the humanities generally.

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism:
The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power

Shoshana Zubov

The challenges to humanity posed by the digital future, the first detailed examination of the unprecedented form of power called "surveillance capitalism," and the quest by powerful corporations to predict and control our behavior. In this masterwork of original thinking and research, Shoshana Zuboff provides startling insights into the phenomenon that she has named surveillance capitalism. The stakes could not be higher: a global architecture of behavior modification threatens human nature in the twenty-first century just as industrial capitalism disfigured the natural world in the twentieth.

Zuboff vividly brings to life the consequences as surveillance capitalism advances from Silicon Valley into every economic sector. Vast wealth and power are accumulated in ominous new "behavioral futures markets," where predictions about our behavior are bought and sold, and the production of goods and services is subordinated to a new "means of behavioral modification." The threat has shifted from a totalitarian Big Brother state to a ubiquitous digital architecture: a "Big Other" operating in the interests of surveillance capital. Here is the crucible of an unprecedented form of power marked by extreme concentrations of knowledge and free from democratic oversight.

Zuboff's comprehensive and moving analysis lays bare the threats to twenty-first century society: a controlled "hive" of total connection that seduces with promises of total certainty for maximum profit -- at the expense of democracy, freedom, and our human future. With little resistance from law or society, surveillance capitalism is on the verge of dominating the social order and shaping the digital future -- if we let it.

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Rhoda Serafim

Publishing Specialist

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