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Volume 7. Essays in Social Philosophy

The writings in this collection originated during three periods of intellectual growth of the author. The first period was his undergraduate years at MIT from 1963-1967. Representing this period is a bachelor’s thesis on Nietzsche (1967), specifically his conception of truth. The thesis develops an argument about how to interpret Nietzsche’s philosophy, itself very interpretation-centered.

The second period included graduate study of continental philosophy at Northwestern University. Before going to Northwestern, the author spent a year at the University of Heidelberg, studying with Gadamer—Heidegger’s research assistant who developed the theory of philosophical hermeneutics (theory of interpretation). For his dissertation research, he returned to Germany for two years at the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research, where Adorno and Habermas had taught. While working on his dissertation, he taught courses on Marx, Heidegger and Adorno. During this period, he published two journal articles: “The jargon of authenticity: An introduction to a Marxist critique of Heidegger,” (1975) and “Attuned to Being: Heideggerian music in technological society” (1976). The first of these formed part of his dissertation. The second was related to two essays written as part of his teaching: on “Sound and society” (1974) and “Utopian optics” (1974). These essays elaborated the implications of philosophical ideas from Marx, Heidegger and Adorno for electronic music and other cultural phenomena.

Following his study of philosophy from 1968-1975, the author returned to Philadelphia and worked as a computer systems analyst, community organizer, neighborhood planner and director of a computer-consulting firm for non-profit organizations. He taught occasional courses on Marx, producing the review of the new translation of Capital (1978) and the essay on democratic socialism (1976). One summer, he went on a tour of worker cooperatives in Europe and published an interview about the comprehensive coop system in Mondragon, Spain (1984).

The third period covers his graduate study of computer science at the University of Colorado at Boulder from 1989-1998. From this period, a number of brief notes are included in this volume. Some were little more than emails sent out to members of a research group or a course. They cover his time as a graduate student in artificial intelligence and a post-doctoral researcher: “Evolution of knowledge” (1992), “Rapid evolution” (1992), “The future now” (1996), “Neural correlates” (1997), “LSA Chinese room” (1997), “Software as art” (1998) and “Software semiotics” (1998). These were often written light-heartedly, to try out a thought or to spark a controversy.

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Table of Contents

Truth as Value: Nietzsche’s Escape from Nihilism
The Jargon of Authenticity: An Introduction to a Marxist Critique of Heidegger
Attuned to Being: Heideggerian Music in Technological Society
Sound and Society: an Essay on Electronic Music
Utopian Optics: Theodor W. Adorno’s Prisms: Cultural Criticism and Society
A Modern Voice for Marx
The Theory and Practice of Democratic Socialism
The Economic Facts of Unemployment
Education for Democracy at Mondragon
Problem-Based Learning: Whitepaper for a Collaboration
The Evolutionary Analysis of Knowledge
The Rapid Evolution of Knowledge
We Have to Work in the Future Now. (In Fact, We are Already Late.)
LSA Visits the Chinese Room: A Guided Tour
Consciousness Without Neural Correlates
Software Semiotics
Software as a New Art Form
On Alexander's pattern language as end-user programming
Lela's Birthday is a "Lela Birthday"
Time and Being: A translation of Martin Heidegger’s “Zeit und Sein”