Environment, Politics, Culture and Values:

A Technological Approach  

Simon Glynn
Current Events / Science

Course Description

Global warming, the current cancer epidemic (40% of Americans alive today will get cancer, 80-90% of which are environmentally caused) and diminishing natural resources, together with the emergence of the world’s two most populous countries (China and India) as its fastest growing industrial economies, and increasing international conflict over resources such as oil and gas, threaten life on the planet as never before; a threat exacerbated by nuclear proliferation - all being the consequence of our supposed technological success. This raises the question of whether such adverse impacts are inevitable, or whether “alternative,” “appropriate" or “intermediate" technologies might be designed which deliver many benefits at lesser cost and risk. This, in turn, raises the political question as to whether we control technology, or whether technology exercises such an influence upon our physical, social and cultural environments, and therefore upon our values, attitudes and ideologies, as to control us.


1. Introduction.
2. Physical Environment I (Population, Resources & Pollution).
3. Physical Environment II (Food & Energy).
4. Technology, Sociocultural Environment and the Shaping of the Self.
5. Technology, Values, Attitudes and Ideology.
6. Alternative Technologies Compared, Contrasted and Assessed.
7. Technology and Political Leadership.
8. Technological Determinism: Do We Control Technology or Does it Control Us?

About the Instructor

  • Dr. Simon Glynn has a PhD from Manchester University in England, and has previously taught at McMaster, The Open University, Universities of Manchester and Liverpool and the University of Georgia. His research interests include contemporary continental philosophy and its application to the natural, human and social sciences, and to cultural analysis, as well as social and political philosophy. Professor Glynn has been contributing editor of a number of books, including Sartre: An Investigation of Some Major Themes, European Philosophy and the Human and Social Sciences, and Continental and Postmodern Perspectives in the Philosophies of Science, and published many articles in other books and leading journals, including Sartre, Phenomenology and the Buddhist No-Self Theory, The Phenomenology of Consciousness and the Deconstructed Identity of the Human Subject, International Perspectives on Pragmatism, Deconstructing Terrorism, Democracy, Liberalism and Freedom, The Dynamics of Alternative Realities, The Logos Mythos Deconstructed and The Hermeneutics of God, the Universe and Everything.

    Lifelong Learning Professorship in Arts and Humanities, 2016-2017