On the Symbol in the Technical Environment: Some Reflections

  • David Lovekin Hastings College


If an environment is the result of a mediation with the symbol as one result, what would it mean for an environment to lose its symbolic capacity? How does this happen in a technological society in danger of losing its societal status, its place as an environment? The presence of the “other” is an issue. The symbol requires the presence of the “other.” In the technological society the presence of a “wholly other” an even greater problem. In a technological society I contend that the “concept” as a technical phenomenon takes the place of the symbol. The computer and the internet are but two examples, but the cliché is an even greater threat in its presence of absence.

Author Biography

David Lovekin, Hastings College
David Lovekin is Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Hastings College, Nebraska. He is the author of Technique, Discourse, and Consciousness: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Jacques Ellul and editor with Donald Phillip Verene of Essays in Humanity and Technology. He is co-translator of Jacques Ellul’s The Empire of Non-Sense. He has published numerous essays on Ellul and Giambattista Vico that deal with technology as a problem for the philosophy of culture in the spirit of Ernst Cassirer with the idea of technology as a symbolic form.