Dominion and Technê

JPI 569/866

This course ponders the philosophical roots of dominion (God's command to "subdue the earth") and of technê (the root of technique, technology). The course begins with a consideration of the biblical meaning of dominion.  The second part explores the meaning of dominion and technê as conceived and practiced in ancient Greece (e.g., Plato, Sophocles, Aristotle; W. Jaeger). Finally, the third part of the course reflects on the new meaning given dominion (work) and technê in modernity—in the seventeenth century beginnings of modern science—and on into the contemporary period (e.g., Descartes, Bacon, J. Monod). A major concern in this third part of the course will be to reflect not only on the sense in which modern science is technological in its original nature as such, but also on what is meant by the assertion (cf., e.g., Heidegger, G. Grant) that "technology is the ontology of modernity." An overarching purpose will be to examine the meaning of this assertion in terms of the dominant conceptions of reason, freedom, and God, as well as general patterns of life and culture, in liberal societies.


Course Texts for Fall 2021

  • Course compendium – available from Cognella
  • Martin Heidegger, Basic Writings (Harper, 2008), ISBN 0061627011
  • Josef Pieper, Leisure, the Basis of Culture (Ignatius, 2009), ISBN 1586172565
  • Matthew Crawford, Shop Class as Soulcraft (Penguin, 2010), ISBN 0143117467
  • Hesiod, Works and Days, trans. A.E. Stallings (Penguin, 2018), ISBN 978-0-141-19752-4
  • The Georgics of Virgil, trans. David Ferry (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2005), ISBN 9780374530310

Associated Faculty

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