The Dialectic of Practice and the Logical Structure of the Tool Philosophy, Archaeology and the Anthropology of Technology
by Jannis Kozatsas. Paperback; 150x210mm; 92pp. 7 2020. Available both in printed and e-versions.
Printed ISBN 9781789694048. £19.00 (No VAT). Epublication ISBN 9781789694055. £16.00 (Exc. VAT) Institutional Price £19.00 (Exc. UK VAT)
The book undertakes a critical review of recent trends in the archaeological and anthropological theory of technology from processual neo-positivism and postprocessual relativism to the contemporary French and American anthropology, and the symmetrical theory of material culture. On the basis of a critique of their logical premises and epistemological consequences, it draws on the tradition of Hegelian dialectics in order to propose an alternative understanding of technology as a material social practice within which the subject and the object –the socio-cultural and the natural– are produced concurrently as inter-constituted elements, and they are unified through their mutual negative relation to each other. Consequently, it is argued that this dynamic practical relation is consolidated in the concept of the tool. The analysis of its logical structure shows its role as an immanent moment of technological practice. According to Hegel, a tool is not a neutral means for transmitting subjective ends to an external object but the material expression of the practical relationship between artisan and matter, and of their negative unity within practice. Concerning this point, the discussion follows a detailed reconstruction of Hegel’s theoretical reflections on the tool concept, and it evaluates their significance for the contemporary debates on the question of techniques and technology.
About the Author
Jannis Kozatsas’ research broadly focuses on philosophy and archaeology. Currently, he is a postdoctoral researcher in philosophy at the Department of Political Science and History, Panteion University of Athens, as a Fellow of the State Scholarship Foundation. Since 2018 he has been lecturing in modern European philosophy at the Department of Philosophy, University of Patras. Alongside his activity in philosophy, he is writing a doctoral thesis on Neolithic pottery at the Department of History and Archaeology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He is currently co-editor-in-chief of KRISI – Biannual Scientific Review in Greece, which specializes in humanities and social sciences.