The Necessity of Friction

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Nordal Åkerman
Westview Press, Mar 13, 1998 - Social Science - 320 pages
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Friction is what keeps us from realizing our goals. It is what compromises all of our plans, sometimes making them unrecognizable. It defies our wish for perfection and constantly surprises us with new elements of resistance. It constitutes the divide between dream and reality.But friction is also what gets us moving, a necessary incentive to achieve progress. Nothing can start if it cannot push off something else. By blocking or delaying the easy solution, friction makes for a richer, more varied world. If it stops schemes from being completely fulfilled, it also stops them form going totally awry.To the modernist project, with its one-sided rationalist pretensions, friction is unambiguously bad—and so it is being disposed of at an increasing speed. The currency markets are one example, cyberspace another. This means less and less time to pause and rethink, while the vulnerability of societies is aggravated. In The Necessity of Friction, scholars tackle this topical and important concept. A number of scientific fields are engaged: physics, philosophy, economics, architecture, organizational theory, artificial intelligence, and others. Together, these contributions form the first modern-day attempt at analyzing the intriguing yet elusive subject of friction as metaphor.
 

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Contents

Nordal Akerman A FreeFalling Society? Six Introductory Notes
3
Chris Donnelly Friction and Warfare
31
Ottar Brox Let Us Now Praise Dragging Feet
65
Georg Smensen Inertia and Development Models
98
Keith Griffin Friction in Economics
119
ErrorControl
132
Sigrid Combuchen Playing Writing Wrestling
167
Jon Elster Why Things Dont Happen as Planned 180
180
Kaj Nyman Stay in My House
205
Ake E Andersson Unpredictability Frictions and Order
213
John Heskett Friction and Inertia in Industrial Design
223
Rom Havre An Exemplary Physical Disposition
243
Agnes Heller Friction of Bodies Friction of Minds
258
Hubert L Dreyfus and Stuart E Dreyfus Frictionless Fore
269
Not All That Is Solid
287
Notes
313

Klaus Rifbjerg Six Poemes en Prose
189
Joanne Finkelstein The Desire for Order
195
About the Authors
319
Copyright

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About the author (1998)

Nordal Åkerman is former professor of history and national security at Lund University.

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