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Technological Nature: Adaptation and the Future of Human Life Hardcover – February 25, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (February 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262113228
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262113229
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,616,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Technological Nature is a deeply compelling book. Our species spent 150,000 years as hunter-gatherers of the African savannah, and Kahn clearly demonstrates that ancestral memories of this are with us still, leaving us with an emotional need for nature and the desire to find substitutions for it. His thesis is unique, his work is breathtakingly original, and his presentation has created a real page-turner.

(Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, anthropologist, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs and The Old Way: A Story of the First People)

In this engaging and provocative book, Peter Kahn explores how technology can simulate the natural world. Kahn has written something unusual and important -- a fascinating review of ongoing scientific research, a considered exploration of human development, and a passionate defense of the value of nature.

(Paul Bloom, Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science, Yale University, and author, How Pleasure Works)

Many today believe human life has become the product of mainly invention and technology. To be modern, they believe, is to separate from the animal world, becoming something different from the rest of living creation. In this world, they wonder, who needs real nature? Yet, as a species, are we necessarily richer for all these gains in terms of health, happiness, and biological fitness? Despite our remarkable capacity to reach far beyond our biology, does our inventiveness continue to rely on having evolved in a natural, not human-created world? This book helps confront this question of the role of modern technology in our lives and where we fit in nature.

(Stephen R. Kellert, Tweedy Ordway Professor Emeritus of Social Ecology, Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Sciences)

Peter Kahn, a pioneering researcher on the human relationship with nature, offers a beautifully written, sometimes disturbing, and always provocative tour of the disappearing borderland between machinery and humanity. Kahn thinks at the cutting edge.

(Richard Louv, author of The Nature Principle and Last Child in the Woods)

Understanding our interactions with 'technological nature' is one of the most pressing concerns of this century. Peter Kahn's outstanding and insightful book delivers the first comprehensive treatment of this critical topic.

(Scott Sampson, Science Advisor and Host, PBS Kids' Dinosaur Train, Research Curator, Utah Museum of Natural History, and author of Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life)

About the Author

Peter H. Kahn, Jr., is Professor in the Department of Psychology and Director of the Human Interaction with Nature and Technological Systems Laboratory at the University of Washington. Kahn and Hasbach are coeditors of Ecopsychology: Science, Totems, and the Technological Species (MIT Press, 2012).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Much enjoyed the tales of the Marshalls living with the Ju/Wasi and similar accounts. Enjoyed narratives included. Well researched, thorough scientific studies, and enlightening as to our own generational "amnesia" of nature. The research and work toward incorporating "eco-therapy" for troubled ones may wake the rest up to the fact we need "nature" back into all humans for a balanced human condition.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Maguire on May 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This work addresses some of the most important concerns of this century regarding nature and technology and
​how we as humans are thriving and not thriving . Dr. Kahn engages the scientist and the psychologist brain in all of us as well as speaking to us as parents and humans navigating our way through these rapidly increasing times of exponential technological growth. We read about "the old way", dating back hundreds of thousands of years ago on the African Savannahs where we were truly co-existing with nature. Do we even know what that is at this time in history? To truly co-exist? His empirical research with children and robot dogs, telegardens and technological windows as well as taking a look at environmental generational amnesia is an important marker for where we are today. If you don't find these topics interesting or useful, take another look around you. We are moving at an alarming pace toward a technological world, away from the truly natural world. Dr. Kahn addresses what this movement is doing to us as a species. This book has eyes on our species and its evolution. I, for one, am keeping my eyes open.
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