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• innovation is the key to humankind’s success, but the presuppositions we hold today about contemporary innovation are based on and reinforcing the emerging metadenial of philosophy
• this emerging metadenial defines the path to permanently eliminating one of humankind’s most valuable tools; this metadenial is therefore a very serious if not potentially fatal problem for humankind
• to counter this emerging metadenial, we must rapidly find a new path to revitalize, further develop, and rigorously apply the work of philosophy in the modern world
As the foundation of our modern world, innovation has generated a seemingly endless ocean of new products, new processes, new thoughts, and new ways of doing things. Every day, we enhance our innovation and its effects – and we advance, accomplish and constantly seek even more! Generally, we tend to live well based on our innovation outputs.
This suggests that we think we know what we are doing, and that we know where we are headed. We do know what we’re doing, don’t we? Most would say: yes, we do; indeed, we are inclined to be certain of it.
But: can we be certain about what we know about innovation?
To address this question, we search for evidence of any useful outputs of the work of philosophy. Such outputs should help us better understand if we can, indeed, be certain about what we do, and where we are going. Is there any evidence of this? Alas! – philosophy is nowhere to be found! As a tool of rigorous reflection and understanding, even where some of the most exciting and forward-looking innovation enterprise in science, engineering and organizational structuring takes place, philosophy seems to have vanished – if it was ever there in the first place.
Today, this seems somehow normal, and quite all right. But is it? Of course, we are aware that our history of philosophy illuminates the earlier pathways we once followed to achieve our modernity, and that is fine; but, where is philosophy and its work today? Where has philosophy gone?
In this book we explore these questions, and more: why is philosophy vanishing, or even entirely absent from our world today? What has happened? If, at one time, philosophy was so very important, why would it no longer be much in evidence, if it is there at all? Where is the work of philosophy today as we push forward with innovation in our astonishing, leading-edge realms? Do we really understand what we are doing? Do we have any idea where we are going? And, most chillingly, regardless of the answers – does it matter?
The claim is made in this book that the disappearance of philosophy does matter, and alarm bells ought to be ringing. Why? Because the work of philosophy, work we seem to have forgotten, is essential for us to know where we are going. If we are truly serious about surviving and thriving, especially by being so innovative in so many spectacular and challenging ways, we cannot afford to have philosophy and its works disappear and then be forgotten. Said plainly, we cannot deny and then lose the maps and compass of philosophy applied to the challenges of today and tomorrow. If we do, we lose any reason for any journey, anywhere. And, more broadly, we are in danger of losing reason generally.
To continue denying philosophy – and then, in the end, to deny that very denial – is a move with no hope of benefit. But, the lack of evidence for the work of philosophy indicates that move is underway. We are destroying any useful link between innovation and philosophy. In so doing, we are seriously reducing the value of innovation (no matter how wonderful we think it might be) while blindly forgetting the critical importance of philosophy and its work. This move will guarantee that the path to our future will be fraught with unnecessary hardship and difficulty, and then, if it is permanent, will deal a fatal blow.
If we truly wish to thrive and persevere, we are compelled to avoid the fatal error of philosophical denial. To do so, we must rediscover, revitalize and apply anew the rigorous work of philosophy to innovation in our modern era.
Series Foreword; What is this book about?; Prologue; Preamble; 1. Backdrop with Questions; 2. A Background to Awareness; 3. The Puzzlement; 4. Initial Discussion; 5. Quine and The Drawing of Inferences; 6. The Absence of Philosophy; 7. Absence of Philosophy in Innovation and Organizational Policy; 8. Moving Forward; 9. Understanding Denial and Delusion; 10. Conclusion (Philosophy Undenied?); Bibliography.