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Ruling the Future? Heretical Reflections on Technology and Other Secular Religions of Sustainability

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I argue that the quest for sustainability in Western societies has been shaped by the secular religion of technology. Technological endeavor and moral reflection have been held apart in this quest, with the result that reformist and transformative approaches to sustainability often overlook articles of modern faith in technology. Instrumentalist appeals to eco-efficiency and environmentalist appeals to nature implicitly invest technology with transcendent significance. In response, I rely upon accounts of practical reason in outlining a secular strategy for constituting sustainability as practical moral endeavor. Characterizing this endeavor as faithfulness in the task of sustaining a good world, I suggest that skillful handling of the moral and ontological substance of technology is the very essence of sustainability.

Affiliations: 1: University of Tasmania

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