The Era of Choice

Author: Edward C. Rosenthal
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262250245
Release Date: 2006-09-22
Genre: Philosophy

Today most of us are awash with choices. The cornucopia of material goods available to those of us in the developed world can turn each of us into a kid in a candy store; but our delight at picking the prize is undercut by our regret at lost opportunities. And what's the criterion for choosing anything -- material, spiritual, the path taken or not taken -- when we have lost our faith in everything? In The Era of Choice Edward Rosenthal argues that choice, and having to make choices, has become the most important influence in both our personal lives and our cultural expression. Choice, he claims, has transformed how we live, how we think, and who we are.This transformation began in the nineteenth century, catalyzed by the growing prosperity of the Industrial Age and a diminishing faith in moral and scientific absolutes. The multiplicity of choices forces us to form oppositions; this, says Rosenthal, has spawned a keen interest in dualism, dilemmas, contradictions, and paradoxes. In response, we have developed mechanisms to hedge, compromise, and to synthesize. Rosenthal looks at the scientific and philosophical theories and cultural movements that choice has influenced -- from physics (for example, Niels Bohr's theory that light is both particle and wave) to postmodernism, from Disney trailers to multiculturalism. He also reveals the effect of choice on the personal level, where we grapple with decisions that range from which wine to have with dinner to whether to marry or divorce, as we hurtle through lives of instant gratification, accelerated consumption, trend, change, and speed. But we have discovered, writes Rosenthal, that sometimes, we can have our cake and eat it, too.

Do You Feel it Too

Author: Nicoline Timmer
Publisher: Rodopi
ISBN: 9789042029309
Release Date: 2010-01
Genre: History

Do You Feel It Too? explores a new sense of self that is becoming manifest in experimental fiction written by a generation of authors who can be considered the 'heirs' of the postmodern tradition. It offers a precise, in-depth analysis of a new, post-postmodern direction in fiction writing, and highlights which aspects are most acute in the post-postmodern novel. Most notable is the emphatic expression of feelings and sentiments and a drive toward inter-subjective connection and communication. The self that is presented in these post-postmodern works of fiction can best be characterized asrelational. To analyze this new sense of self, a new interpretational method is introduced that offers a sophisticated approach to fictional selves combining the insights of post-classical narratology and what is called 'narrative psychology'.Close analyses of three contemporary experimental texts – Infinite Jest (1996) by David Foster Wallace,A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000) by Dave Eggers, and House of Leaves(2000) by Mark Danielewski – provide insight into the typical problems that the self experiences in postmodern cultural contexts. Three such problems or 'symptoms' are singled out and analyzed in depth: an inability to choose because of a lack of decision-making tools; a difficulty to situate or appropriate feelings; and a structural need for a 'we' (a desire for connectivity and sociality).The critique that can be distilled from these texts, especially on the perceivedsolipsistic quality of postmodern experience worlds, runs parallel to developments in recent critical theory. These developments, in fiction and theory both, signal, in the wake of poststructural conceptions of subjectivity, a perhaps much awaited 'turn to the human' in our culture at large today.

The Inner History of Devices

Author: Sherry Turkle
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262291569
Release Date: 2011-09-30
Genre: Technology & Engineering

For more than two decades, in such landmark studies as The Second Self and Life on the Screen, Sherry Turkle has challenged our collective imagination with her insights about how technology enters our private worlds. In The Inner History of Devices, she describes her process, an approach that reveals how what we make is woven into our ways of seeing ourselves. She brings together three traditions of listening -- that of the memoirist, the clinician, and the ethnographer. Each informs the others to compose an inner history of devices. We read about objects ranging from cell phones and video poker to prosthetic eyes, from Web sites and television to dialysis machines. In an introductory essay, Turkle makes the case for an "intimate ethnography" that challenges conventional wisdom. One personal computer owner tells Turkle: "This computer means everything to me. It's where I put my hope." Turkle explains that she began that conversation thinking she would learn how people put computers to work. By its end, her question has changed: "What was there about personal computers that offered such deep connection? What did a computer have that offered hope?" The Inner History of Devices teaches us to listen for the answer. In the memoirs, ethnographies, and clinical cases collected in this volume, we read about an American student who comes to terms with her conflicting identities as she contemplates a cell phone she used in Japan ("Tokyo sat trapped inside it"); a troubled patient who uses email both to criticize her therapist and to be reassured by her; a compulsive gambler who does not want to win steadily at video poker because a pattern of losing and winning keeps her more connected to the body of the machine. In these writings, we hear untold stories. We learn that received wisdom never goes far enough.

The Tyranny of Choice

Author: Renata Salecl
Publisher: Profile Books
ISBN: 9781847652263
Release Date: 2011-08-04
Genre: Social Science

We are encouraged from all sides to view our lives as being full of choices. Like the products on a supermarket shelf, our careers, our relationships, our bodies, our very identities seem to be there for the choosing. But paradoxically this seeming freedom to choose can create extreme anxiety, and feelings of inadequacy and guilt. The Tyranny of Choice explores how late capitalism's shrill exhortations to 'be oneself' can be a tyranny which only leads to ever-greater disquiet and how insistence on choice being a purely individual matter prevents social change. With wisdom, humour and sensitivity, Renata Salecl examines the complexity of the essential human capacity to choose which has become mired in consumerist ironies.

The Complete Idiot s Guide to Game Theory

Author: Edward C. Rosenthal, Ph.D.
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781101478844
Release Date: 2011-03-01
Genre: Mathematics

Gain some insight into the game of life... Game Theory means rigorous strategic thinking. It is based on the idea that everyone acts competitively and in his own best interest. With the help of mathematical models, it is possible to anticipate the actions of others in nearly all life's enterprises. This book includes down-to-earth examples and solutions, as well as charts and illustrations designed to help teach the concept. In The Complete Idiot's Guide® to Game Theory, Dr. Edward C. Rosenthal makes it easy to understand game theory with insights into: ? The history of the disciple made popular by John Nash, the mathematician dramatized in the film A Beautiful Mind ? The role of social behavior and psychology in this amazing discipline ? How important game theory has become in our society and why

The Reinvention of Distinction

Author: Van Nguyen-Marshall
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9400723067
Release Date: 2011-11-17
Genre: Social Science

This pioneering collection brings together an international group of scholars to explore the Vietnamese middle class. From the leisure pursuits of the colonial middle class to the impact of the new urban rich on landscape of the countryside, this interdisciplinary volume explores the ways in which middle classness has been practiced in a wide range of contexts throughout the 20th century and into the 21st. In addition to offering insights into how middle classness was and is constituted and negotiated, this collection illuminates the cultural and social conditions of two distinctive periods in Vietnamese history. Three historical chapters consider how middle class status was experienced and displayed under French colonialism and in 1960s republican. These chapters offer examinations of middle classness through recreation, consumption, and associational life. Six contemporary studies examine the modes of experimentation and practice within middle class urban Vietnam. Still a sensitive topic politically, the contemporary middle class, nascent but increasingly powerful, is exerting a strong impact on the shape of contemporary society and culture, as well as on urban and rural landscapes. This volume offers a series of studies which critically interrogate the practices of those who engage in or aspire to urban middle-class lifestyles in Vietnam both in the past and in the present.

The Virgin of El Barrio

Author: Kristy Nabhan-Warren
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 081475824X
Release Date: 2005-05-01
Genre: Religion

A thorough ethnography that sweeps the reader into the world of Marian visionary Estela Ruiz, her family and followers, and the evangelizing ministries they have created in South Phoenix.

Wetwares

Author: Richard Doyle
Publisher: U of Minnesota Press
ISBN: 0816640092
Release Date: 2003
Genre: Technology & Engineering

The mind of the machine, the body suspended in time, organs exchanged, thought computed, genes manipulated, DNA samples abducted by aliens: the terrain between science and speculation, fraught with the possibility of technological and perhaps even evolutionary transformations, is the territory Richard Doyle explores in Wetwares. In a manner at once sober and playful, Doyle maps potentials for human transformation by new ecologies of information in the early twenty-first century. Wetwares ranges over recent research in artificial life, cloning, cryonics, computer science, organ transplantation, and alien abduction. Moving between actual technical practices, serious speculative technology, and science fiction, Doyle shows us emerging scientific paradigms where "life" becomes more a matter of information than of inner vitality--in short, becomes "wetwares" for DNA and computer networks. Viewing technologies of immortality--from cryonics to artificial life--as disciplines for welcoming a thoroughly other future, a future of neither capital, god, human, nor organism, the book offers tools for an evolutionary, transhuman mutation in the utterly unpredictable decades to come.