Notes on the Role of the Arts in a Technocratic Culture: An Argument for a Poetry and Literature of Political Integrity
This is an inquiry into the role of the arts, specifically poetry, in Western culture. I contend that contrary to our apparent tacit understanding of Western arts as a political counter-force to technocracy, they share with the sciences a fundamental philosophical value: empiricism—which at the very least constrains its role as gadfly and at worst condemns the arts to technocratic abettors. But I argue that a study of the historical roots of empiricism, revealing how much it owes to radical skepticism, could help show artists and writers, as well as scientists, how to retain their integrity as speculators as opposed to technocrats, leaving open the option of true political dissent. I explore what further qualities might characterize that truly counter-technocratic art, but I argue that, given our current intellectual climate of rationalism, that option may be an aporia, an irresolvable paradox.
Keywords: Poetry and Technology, Arts and Technology, Art in Technocratic Culture, Philosophy and Romantic Poetry, Empiricism and Poetry, Rationalism and Poetry, Postmodern Poetry and Technology, History of Science and Poetry
Prof. Cory Brown
Associate Professor, Writing Department, Ithaca College