Cover of Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology
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1. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 3
Christopher P. Toumey Reading Feynman Into Nanotechnology: A Text for a New Science
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As histories of nanotechnology are created, one question arises repeatedly: how influential was Richard Feynman’s 1959 talk, “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom”? It is often said by knowledgeable people that this talk was the origin of nanotech. It preceded events like the invention of the scanning tunneling microscope, but did it inspire scientists to do things they would not have done otherwise? Did Feynman’s paper directly influence important scientific developments in nanotechnology? Or is his paper being retroactively read into the history of nanotechnology? To explore those questions, I trace the history of “Plenty of Room,” including its publication and republication, its record of citations in scientific literature, and the comments of eight luminaries of nanotechnology. This biography of a text and its life among other texts enables us to articulate Feynman’s paper with the history of nanotechnology in new ways as it explores how Feynman’s paper is read.
2. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 3
Mireille Hildebrandt Legal and Technological Normativity: more (and less) than twin sisters
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Within science technology and society studies the focus has long been on descriptive microanalyses. Several authors have raised the issue of the normative implications of the findings of research into socio-technical devices and infrastructures, while some claim that material artifacts have moral significance or should even be regarded as moral actors. In this contribution the normative impact of technologies is investigated and compared with the normative impact of legal norms, arguing that a generic concept of normativity is needed that does not depend on the intention of whoever designed either a law or a technology. Furthermore this contribution develops the idea that modern law, which has been mediated by the technologies of the script and the printing press, may need to rearticulate its basic tenets into emerging technologies in order to sustain what has been called the paradox of the 'Rechtsstaat'.
3. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 3
Jim Gerrie Three Species of Technological Dependency
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One can find from a survey of the work of three prominent philosophers of technology in the late twentieth century, a very different kind of metaphor for describing the powerful, but not fully determinative influence that technology has on our lives. These three theories each centre on a concept I call "technological dependency." The most prominent exponents of technological dependency are Marshall McLuhan, Herbert Marcuse and Jacques Ellul. Although there are similarities between their descriptions of the phenomenon of dependency, their discussions of this phenomenon are focused around very different sub-metaphors for describing the nature of the dependency. McLuhan portrays our relationship with technology as capable of becoming a form of addiction or habit, Marcuse portrays it as a form of bribery, and Jacques Ellul portrays it as a form of religious cultism.
4. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 3
New In Print
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