Blogging Borgmann: TCCL Chapter 23, “Focal Things and Practices” and the Character of Contemporary Life (TCCL) by Albert Borgmann. The chapter’s meditation on things and practices, with its thoughtfully selected and well-developed examples, appeals to those who might not know Borgmann’s . This article considers the question of technology and the good life. It argues for a strong thematic connection between Albert Borgmann’s thought and Japanese.

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According to Borgmann, focal things and practices are the human activities that make life meaningful. Yet “the burdensome part of these activities is actually just the task of getting across a threshold of effort,” writes Borgmann.

According to Borgmann, the art of reading is an essential activity, fulfilling a fundamental human need: Unfortunately running outside and homemade meals are nowadays fleeting experiences. They are correlated to focal practices such as reading, reciting poetry, playing instruments, dining, walking, sporting activities, painting, sculpting, fishing, gardening, rock collecting, and so on. Engaging in focal practices like running or cultivating homemade meals is clearly possible for all of us to do even if only because focxl technological society has anc us that opportunity!

That, in the final analysis, is the ultimate criterion. Melville, Thoreau, Pirsig, and Maclean are all helpful. Using or not using the interstate highway system is not a matter of choice anymore for most of us, and neither are the moral consequences of long commutes and the neglect of family, neighborhood, and inner city.

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Some ideas take long time to mature into a form that you are finally happy to share them.

This Is My Racism.

The Recovery of “Focal Practices”

In our technological setting, the great meal is necessarily understood differently than in a pre-technological one; for us, rather than it being the necessary way of things, it can become something more: Practices, in their recurring and faithful nature, protect focal things from being subverted by technology and from being lost because of our own frailty or natural inconsistency.


Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not anr published. The other half agreed about the practiecs wiring, but feared that today’s youth would lack deep-thinking capabilities, face-to-face social skills and will depend in unhealthy ways on the Internet and mobile devices to function.

Stories are now available from the comfort of our couches, at will and at any time. Reading is essentially alert contemplative pursuit, which, like prayer, embodies an “active receptivity” to the world, while engaging the deeper dimensions of the intellect and soul.

Tag: Focal Things and Practices

To read comprehendingly is to follow the author’s instruction in the construction of an imaginary world. Posted by John O’Brien at 9: Yet that added organizational or willed effort is often proportionate to the payoff — the pleasure that both writer and recipient feel. He reminds us that not all conveniences are healthy, just as not all inconveniences are unhealthy, and that certain practices should not be blithely abandoned without reflection. Consider, for instance, the burden of preparing practicez meal and getting everyone to show up at the table and sit down.

Technological information is information as reality and leads to decreased human engagement with fundamental aspects of reality.

Device paradigm

Classical, Early, and Medieval Plays and Playwrights: For instance, does the average family still play board games? A simple jug by its shape and purpose discloses what it means to hold as well as to give. The large amount of time that can pass in the virtual world is also noticeable by anyone who has engaged it, as well as the resulting phenomenon of listlessness, boredom and irritability after these activities are finished.

Publications Pages Publications Pages. Focal practices are activities that make life meaningful. Or the burden of letter-writing —gathering our thoughts, setting them down in a way that will be remembered and cherished and perhaps passed on to our grandchildren.

Now to more examples. Wine becomes a device when it employs technology and machinery not merely to produce wine but obtain specific qualities such as grapey, smooth, light, and fruity flavors or clean and clear appearance. Does it even matter? As soon as you have crossed the threshold, the burden disappears.

Blogging Borgmann: TCCL Chapter 23, “Focal Things and Practices” – Re:Creation

Jonathan is a Director of Open Source at Sauce Labsleading a team of open source developers to improve the web and mobile testing ecosystem. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Consider, for instance, the burden of preparing a meal and getting everyone to show up at the table and sit down. Views Read Edit View history.


To demonstrate life in device paradigm, Borgmann points out that we no longer need to wait until evening and gather in the parlour, pub or town square in order to share stories. Thus, technology praactices play a greater role in determining the character of the good life than any of the founders of the liberal democratic tradition imagined.

This week, I was able to come back to the topic in borymann seminar in the Department of Geography at the University of Leicester. University Press Scholarship Online. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Heidegger tried to recover this givenness, finding it in simple, concrete artifacts like an earthenware jug. Don’t have an account? If we care about running or making meals from scratch, the only thing that will suffice is turning them into an actual practicenot a series of one-off events we hope will be the norm.

The answer is that literacy on the part of the reader generates the wealth of information albwrt viewer receives without charge. Skip to content Advertisements. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use for details see www.

It has a certain pride of place, perhaps, but nonetheless reading is just one of a multitude of activities he calls focal practices — habits that can help us resist becoming pell-mell denizens of device paradigm.

Jonathan has master’s degrees in philosophy and linguistics, from Stanford and Oxford respectively. Borgmann examines two in the course of the chapter: