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Book Reference: ‘Technics and Time, 1: The Fault of Epimetheus’ by Bernard Stiegler

P.1. ‘two classes of body: the inorganic [is] non-living, inanimate, inert; the organic [is] what breathes, feeds, and reproduces; it [is] “inevitably doomed to die”‘

P.2. ‘To these two regions of beings correspond two dynamics: mechanics and biology.’

P.7. ‘The modern age is essentially that of modern technics.’

P.22. ‘To become conscious of contemporary technical reality is to understand that the technical object cannot be a utensil’

P.22. ‘We will deal here with the evolution of technics considered in general as a system, and in particular as a system that leads to the contemporary technical system.’

P.23. ‘Simondon characterizes modern technics as the appearance of technical individuals in the form of machines: hitherto, the human was a bearer of tools and was itself a technical individual. Today, machines are the tool bearers, and the human is no longer a technical individual; the human becomes either the machine’s servant or its assembler human’s relation to the technical object proves to have profoundly changed.’

P.24. ‘Technics commands (kubernaô, the etymon of cybernetics) nature. Before, nature commanded technics. Nature is consigned by technics in this sense: nature has become the assistant, the auxiliary; in similar fashion, it is exploited by technics, which has become the master. For nature to be thus exploited and consigned, it has to be considered as ground, reserve, available stock for the
needs of the system that modern technics forms. To exploit and “consign” nature is to realize the project of making oneself “as its master and owner.””

P.24. ‘Now, is technics a means through which we master nature, or rather does not technics, becoming the master of nature, master us as a part of nature?’

P.24. ‘Like the machine, the human of the industrial age is dependent on the technical system, and serves it rather than making it serve itself; the human is the “assistant,” the auxiliary, the helper, indeed the means of technics qua system.’

P.25. ‘Gilles hypothesis is that we are moving into a new technical system that requires adjustments to the other social systems.’

P.26. ‘Technology reveals the active relation of man to nature, the direct process of the production of his life, and thereby it also lays bare the process of the production of the social relations of his life,’

P.26. ‘We will see the question of a technical determinism arising in a permanent oscillation between the physical and biological modalities of this evolution, the technical object, an organized and nevertheless inorganic being, belonging neither to the mineral world nor simply to the animal.’

P.93. ‘Technology is first of all defined as a discourse on technics. But what does technics mean? In general, technics designates in human life today the restricted and specified domain of tools, of instruments, if not only machines (Louis Mumford thus thinks all instrumentality from the vantage of the machine). Technics (tekhne) designates, however, first and foremost all the domains of skill. What is not skill? Politeness, elegance, and cooking are skills. However, only in the latter do we have production, a transformation of material, of “raw material,” into “secondary matter” or products; and this is why cooking, as is the case in Gorgias, is more willingly acknowledged as technics, as productive skill in-forming matter. This is the model of the craftsman, the operator (efficient cause) of poiesis, from which has developed the theory of the four causes, on the basis of which tradition understands technics.’

P.94. All human action has something to do with tekhne, is after a fashion tekhne. It is no less the case that in the totality of human action “techniques” are singled out. These most often signal specialized skills, not shared by all. Thus the technique of the craftsman, or the medical doctor, the architect, or the engineer, as well as that of the philosopher, the artist, or the rhetorician. A technique is a particular type of skill that is not indispensable to the humanity of a particular human. This is what is implicitly understood by the term “technique.”

P.94. ‘Technology is therefore the discourse describing and explaining the evolution of specialized procedures and techniques, arts and trades— either the discourse of certain types of procedures and techniques, or that of the totality of techniques inasmuch as they form a system: technology is in this case the discourse of the evolution of that system. However, technology is most often used today as having incorporated a large part of science, in opposition to traditional prescientific techniques. The corps of engineers was born with the advent of technics as “applied science.”‘

P.148. ‘With the advent of exteriorization, the body of the living individual is no longer only a body: it can only function with its tools.’

P.152. ‘The prosthesis is not a mere extension of the human body; it is the constitution of this body
qua “human” (the quotation marks belong to the constitution). It is not a “means” for the human but its end, and we know the essential equivocity of this expression: “the end of the human.”‘

P.154. ‘”Tools and skeletons evolved synchronously. We might say that with the Archanthropians, tools were still, to a large extent, a direct emanation of species behavior’


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