The Operations of Culture: Ernst Kapp’s Elements of a Philosophy of Technology

Jeffrey West Kirkwood Art History/Cinema, SUNY Binghamton
Leif Weatherby German, NYU
Date: February 19, 2019
Time: 5:00pm – 6:30pm
Location: N107 School of Architecture

The origins of what has come to be called “new German media theory” are traceable to an unlikely location far from Germany-Texas-and by way of an even less evident path: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. A German émigré, Ernst Kapp, reading Hegel in the rural expanses of central Texas in the middle of the nineteenth century, penned what is arguably the first philosophy of technology. Elements of a Philosophy of Technology: On the Evolutionary History of Culture (1877) has shaped and predicted the course of much of contemporary media theory. Drawing on the book’s recent publication for the first time in English, the talk will explore the implications of Kapp’s ideas of “organ projection” the unconscious, and engineering on the contours of theory.

artwork of patented mechanical hand on poster

Organized by Program in Media and Modernity and co-sponsored by the Princeton University German Department.