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Balancing Sustainable Development: Philosophy of Technology and Aesthetic Evaluation

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Title: Balancing Sustainable Development: Philosophy of Technology and Aesthetic Evaluation
Author: Gasperik, Dylan
Advisor: Wright, Kathleen; Gangadean, Ashok K.
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of Philosophy
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2009
Abstract: My thesis is an attempt to explain the imbalanced and incomplete modes of thinking in the modern consciousness that I find to be responsible for humanity's collective irrational and violent destruction of the global environment. I argue that the environment is a direct material extension of human identities and its destruction is evidence of unbalanced behavior and thinking in need of rehabilitation. Furthermore, the discourse of sustainable development fails to provide an adequate alternative to the destructiveness of the modern consciousness. My thesis draws on three distinct traditions of thought to attempt to analyze the imbalance and propose an alternate mode of thinking: Albert Borgmann's "device paradigm," Martin Heidegger's "supreme danger" of modern technology, and David Hall and Roger Ames' "aesthetic cosmology" reading of the classical Taoist texts. The device paradigm highlights the important role of technology in distracting us from the destruction that has become so unavoidable and innocuous in the modern lifestyle. Heidegger's complex analysis of technology provides a foundation for understanding its power for salvation as well as destruction and distraction. Hall and Ames' readings of Taoism provide an example of an alternate mode of thinking that could potentially rehabilitate the imbalances endemic to the modern consciousness that cause us to be destructive. I am aware of and wary of the breadth and ambition of my thesis topic. This has not deterred me or distracted me from writing it, and I have found the process to be helpful in solidifying, clarifying, and justifying my philosophical explorations up to this point.
Subject: Sustainable development -- Philosophy
Subject: Sustainable development -- Moral and ethical aspects
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Gasperik, Dylan. "Balancing Sustainable Development: Philosophy of Technology and Aesthetic Evaluation". 2009. Available electronically from

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