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Speculation : a cultural history from Aristotle to AI

By: Rogers, GayleMaterial type: TextTextPublication details: New York Columbia University Press 2021Description: 257pISBN: 9780231200219Subject(s): Speculation | Business economics - FinanceDDC classification: 332.645 Summary: Few activities or concepts are as maligned or as celebrated as speculation. Speculators cast implausible, seemingly contagious money-making schemes into the future, and their unsubstantiated risks leave untold amounts of collateral damage. At the same time, speculation mediates between the seen and unseen, the natural and the supernatural, and the material present and the abstract, hypothetical future. It builds the worlds that we inhabit now and will inhabit tomorrow, just as it builds worlds that will never come into being. In short, speculation, as it has been identified and defined, is at the centre of Western thought, finance, and politics, revealing the limits, possibilities, and excesses of our attempts to create knowledge about and shape our future. In Speculation, Gayle Rogers offers a cultural, literary, and intellectual history of the concept and practices of speculation from antiquity to the present. He traces its origins from its exalted position in Greek, Roman, and medieval philosophy to its denigration by John Calvin who viewed it as sinful. As the concept became increasingly associated with the modern economy in the eighteenth century in the works of Jonathan Swift, Adam Smith, and others, the concept was also seized upon by the Romanticists and Transcendentalists for other intellectual reasons as well as female authors such as Jane Austen and George Eliot, who expanded the concept to debates about "women speculators" of the nineteenth century. With the advent of the stock ticker tape and continuing through today, new technologies have shaped ideas about speculation and how machines might take over a previous human activity.
List(s) this item appears in: New Arrivals_Apr22
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Table of Contents:

1. The Mirror and the Watchtower
2. Experimenting on Thought
3. Gambling on a Word
4. America the Speculative
5. Speculitis, or the Technologies of Prophecy
6. The Lady Speculator
Conclusion: Speculative Risks, Inhuman Imagination.

Few activities or concepts are as maligned or as celebrated as speculation. Speculators cast implausible, seemingly contagious money-making schemes into the future, and their unsubstantiated risks leave untold amounts of collateral damage. At the same time, speculation mediates between the seen and unseen, the natural and the supernatural, and the material present and the abstract, hypothetical future. It builds the worlds that we inhabit now and will inhabit tomorrow, just as it builds worlds that will never come into being. In short, speculation, as it has been identified and defined, is at the centre of Western thought, finance, and politics, revealing the limits, possibilities, and excesses of our attempts to create knowledge about and shape our future. In Speculation, Gayle Rogers offers a cultural, literary, and intellectual history of the concept and practices of speculation from antiquity to the present. He traces its origins from its exalted position in Greek, Roman, and medieval philosophy to its denigration by John Calvin who viewed it as sinful. As the concept became increasingly associated with the modern economy in the eighteenth century in the works of Jonathan Swift, Adam Smith, and others, the concept was also seized upon by the Romanticists and Transcendentalists for other intellectual reasons as well as female authors such as Jane Austen and George Eliot, who expanded the concept to debates about "women speculators" of the nineteenth century. With the advent of the stock ticker tape and continuing through today, new technologies have shaped ideas about speculation and how machines might take over a previous human activity.

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