Notes on the Role of the Arts in a Technocratic Culture: An Argument for a Poetry and Literature of Political Integrity

Prof. Cory Brown
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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
Stream: Technology in Community, Knowledge and Technology
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Notes on the Role of the Arts in a Technocratic Culture

Prof. Cory Brown

Associate Professor, Writing Department, Ithaca College

Cory Brown, born in 1956, grew up in a small town in Oklahoma, USA, raising cattle. He studied literature and philosophy as an undergraduate at Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma University. In 1982 he began graduate study in literature and poetry writing at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, studing with Archie Ammons and Robert Morgan. He began teaching at Ithaca College in Ithaca in 1990 and now teaches poetry writing, literary theory, and philosophy there.

Ref: T06P0038