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Which clippings match 'Scientific Goals' keyword pg.1 of 1
28 OCTOBER 2014

Questioning the goal of efficiency in contemporary culture

"Efficiency in human behavior is a goal that is rarely questioned in contemporary culture. This course will study and draw connections between disparate fields to trace the development and influence of this view. The course, drawing a mix of humanities and engineering students, will include readings and lectures on 19th and 20th century philosophers with discussions of new technology and team experimental projects.

Frederick Taylor, the father of industrial engineering, analyzed human motion to optimize industrial productivity, which had great influence on Henry Ford, military logistics, and Stalin. Michel Foucault traced the history of the minute analysis of human motion from Napoleon's methods for transforming peasants into soldiers to modern methods for reforming prisoners. Martin Heidegger claimed that 'efficient ordering' was the defining characteristic of modern culture. Through the course, students will learn to recognize how this obsession with efficiency for its own sake relates to technology and to their daily lives."

(Questioning Efficiency: Human Factors and Existential Phenomenology, UC Berkeley course syllabus, Fall 2006)







Albert Borgmann • Anson Rabinbach • Anton BragagliaBerkeley (University of California)capture a moment of timechronophotographycooking in the kitchen • critique of technology • Dale Huchingson • dematerialization of objects in space • Eadweard Muybridgeefficiency • efficient ordering • Eliot Eliofson • Emily Fox • engineering students • Etienne-Jules Marey • everyday life • existential phenomenology • fotodinamismo • Frank Gilbreth • Frederick Taylor • geometric chronophotograph • goal • golfer • Henri BergsonHenry Ford • homemaker • Hubert Dreyfushuman behaviourhuman bodyhuman factorshuman factors in designhuman motion • Idris Khan • increased productivityindustrial engineering • industrial productivity • infinite continuity of time • James Gleick • Joseph Stalin • Ken Goldberg • kitchen • kitchen studies • lecture programmeLillian Gilbrethlong exposure • management science • Marcel DuchampMartin Heideggermeasure performancemetricisationmetricsMichel Foucault • military logistics • model kitchen • modern culture • modern homemaker • motion studiesNapoleon Bonaparte • Nude Descending a Staircase (1912) • objects in motion • obsession with efficiency • philosophy of technologyproductivity • reconstruction of movement • schematic phases • scientific goalssimultaneityslow motion photographystudying motiontechnologyThe Kitchen Practical (1929) • time and motion studies • time savingtime-motion studies • Umberto Boccioni • wasted motion


Simon Perkins
07 MAY 2011

Performativity involves a system logic that reduces questions of justice to questions of efficiency and has no interest in the unknown

"For Lyotard, performativity involves a system logic that reduces questions of justice to questions of efficiency and has no interest in the unknown because it falls outside the system as currently constituted. Against this he 'sketches the outline of a politics that would respect both the desire for justice and the desire for the unknown' (1984: 67). This involves turning away from performativity and towards the other possible legitimating criteria, consensus and paralogy. Lyotard argues that consensus, the criteria preferred by Habermas, is inadequate (1984: 60). It rests on a belief that it is possible to find a metalanguage that could translate all of the 'heteromorphous classes of utterance' into one another, and the assumption that it is possible for all speakers in scientific games to agree about this meta–language and that consensus is the goal of science (1984: 65). Against this, Lyotard argues that 'consensus is only a particular state of discussion, not its end. Its end, on the contrary is paralogy' (1984: 65–6)."

(Campbell Jones, p.512)

Campbell Jones (2003). "Theory after the Postmodern Condition." Organization 10(3): 503–525.

Jean–François Lyotard (1984). The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press.

Fig.1 China's Pang Qing and Tong Jian perform in the pairs short programme during the Cup of China figure skating competition in Beijing November 5. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)



consensus • criteria • discussionefficiency • heteromorphous classes of utterance • Jean-Francois LyotardJurgen Habermaslegitimating criterialegitimationlogic • meta-language • metalanguage • metanarrativeparalogyperformativityPostmodern • scientific games • scientific goalsstateThe Postmodern Conditionunknown


Simon Perkins

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