On Entropy and Responsibility in the Thought of Ivan Illich


  • Tiago Mesquita Carvalho IF-FLUP




This paper aims to explore the concept of entropy in Ivan Illich’s overall thinking and deliver a dialog with other authors. Our goals are twofold. First, we aim at pointing out how Illich's early work is relevant for critically thinking about entropy in its relationship to forms of social organization and technology usage. Secondly, we point to how Illich’s later works consider a planetary responsibility. By gathering matter, energy and information, technology is an ambiguous force of both hominization and alienation, world-building and world destruction. For an early Illich, liberation from such new heteronomy was possible. The late Illich, however, adverts against the dangers of a collective responsibility. The attempt to “save life” is a necrophiliac manipulation, dependent on a planetary extension of promethean power. Instead, humankind must nurture the return of Epimetheus: a powerless relationship with the future that places hope as the constitutive force of social fabric.






Entropies (Edited by Joel White and Gerald Moore)

How to Cite

Mesquita Carvalho, Tiago. 2024. “On Entropy and Responsibility in the Thought of Ivan Illich ”. Technophany, A Journal for Philosophy and Technology 2 (1): 1-26. https://doi.org/10.54195/technophany.14876.