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Las Vegas and the Architecture of the American Dream

The Las Vegas Strip has impersonated the Wild West, with saloon doors and wagon wheels; it has decked itself out in midcentury modern sleekness. It has illuminated itself with twenty-story-high neon signs, then junked them. After that came Disney-like theme parks featuring castles and pirates, followed by replicas of Venetian canals, New York skyscrapers, and the Eiffel Tower.

How Science is Redefining Humanity

What do computers, cells, and brains have in common? Computers are electronic devices designed by humans; cells are biological entities crafted by evolution; brains are the containers and creators of our minds. But all are, in one way or another, information-processing devices. The power of the human brain is, so far, unequaled by any existing machine or known living being. Over eons of evolution, the brain has enabled us to develop tools and technology to make our lives easier. Our brains have even allowed us to develop computers that are almost as powerful as the human brain itself.

Edited by David M. Kaplan

Environmental philosophy and philosophy of technology have taken divergent paths despite their common interest in examining human modification of the natural world. Yet philosophers from each field have a lot to contribute to the other. Environmental issues inevitably involve technologies, and technologies inevitably have environmental impacts. In this book, prominent scholars from both fields illuminate the intersections of environmental philosophy and philosophy of technology, offering the beginnings of a rich new hybrid discourse.

Imagination in the Age of Computing

We depend on—we believe in—algorithms to help us get a ride, choose which book to buy, execute a mathematical proof. It’s as if we think of code as a magic spell, an incantation to reveal what we need to know and even what we want. Humans have always believed that certain invocations—the marriage vow, the shaman’s curse—do not merely describe the world but make it. Computation casts a cultural shadow that is shaped by this long tradition of magical thinking.

Since the 1970s, the South African artist William Kentridge has charted the turbulent terrain of his homeland in both personal and political terms. With erudition, absurdist humor, and an underlying hope in humankind, Kentridge’s artwork has examined apartheid, humanitarian atrocities, aging, and the ambiguities of growing up white and Jewish in South Africa. This October Files volume brings together critical essays and interviews that explore Kentridge’s work and shed light on the unique working processes behind his drawings, prints, stop-animation films, and theater works.

Between Neoliberalism and the New Social Conservatism

Why was the discourse of family values so pivotal to the conservative and free-market revolution of the 1980s and why has it continued to exert such a profound influence on American political life? Why have free-market neoliberals so often made common cause with social conservatives on the question of family, despite their differences on all other issues? In this book, Melinda Cooper challenges the idea that neoliberalism privileges atomized individualism over familial solidarities, and contractual freedom over inherited status.

Education, Race, and Computing

The number of African Americans and Latino/as receiving undergraduate and advanced degrees in computer science is disproportionately low. And relatively few African American and Latino/a high school students receive the kind of institutional encouragement, educational opportunities, and preparation needed for them to choose computer science as a field of study and profession.

We live in an information society, or so we are often told. But what does that mean? This volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series offers a concise, informal account of the ways in which information and society are related and of our ever-increasing dependence on a complex multiplicity of messages, records, documents, and data. Using information in its everyday, nonspecialized sense, Michael Buckland explores the influence of information on what we know, the role of communication and recorded information in our daily lives, and the difficulty (or ease) of finding information.

Problematizing Nanotechnology and Democracy in Europe and the United States

In Democratic Experiments, Brice Laurent discusses the challenges that emerging technologies create for democracy today. He focuses on nanotechnology and its attendant problems, proposing nanotechnology as a lens through which to understand contemporary democracy in both theory and practice. Arguing that democracy is at stake where nanotechnology is defined as a problem, Laurent examines the sites where nanotechnology is discussed and debated by scientists, policymakers, and citizens.

Marcus Steinweg’s capacity to implicate the other is beautiful, bright, precise, and logical, grounded in everyday questions, which to him are always big questions.
—from the foreword by Thomas Hirschhorn

The houses of philosophy need not be palaces.
—Marcus Steinweg, “House,” The Terror of Evidence

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