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Displaying: 1-10 of 502 documents


articles
1. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Joni Turville From “You’ve Got Mail” to Email Overload: A Postphenomenological Genealogy of Email
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Using a postphenomenological approach, this article follows the history of email from its first development by and for the scientific community, through its commercialization, and into its modern-day integration with mobile devices. Five historical variations are identified: emergence, propagation, habituation and commercialization, supersaturation, and evanescence. Finally, I propose a model that describes not only the evolution of email, but potentially other digital communications tools. Studying the history of a technology can provide insight into both its past and contemporary applications, and may prompt more thoughtful use.
2. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Mo Abolkheir If You Wish to Invent Then Follow the Half-Causation Method
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The Half-Causation Method is a metaphysical-epistemic model for developing industrialised technological inventions. It consists of five phases of reasoning through which methodological success is achieved. The Method is named after its first phase, which consists of a methodological idealisation of the causal process, by pinpointing half of a possible causal relation while ignoring everything else. Following this, the Method prescribes how the reasoning should proceed, which ultimately constructs a complete and novel causal process. Each phase terminates with an epistemic justification which the inventor (or inventors) can share with other knowers and have them deliberated and scrutinised. As such, the entire process of developing industrialised technological inventions, including the early stages which are traditionally regarded as mysterious can be understood as a sequence of epistemic justifications. In this paper, the Half-Causation Method is presented as a detailed practical prescription for future projects which aim to develop industrialised technological inventions. Throughout the paper two case studies from the recent history of technology are used as exemplars, namely: the invention of the microwave oven and the invention of the centrifugal vacuum cleaner. First, a definition of the ‘technological invention’ is proposed. Following that, the prescription is presented as fifteen methodological instructions: three instructions that repeat at each phase. The prescription is supplemented by a set-theoretic diagram. Although this is a philosophy paper, it is spoken directly to the scientists and engineers who aim to direct part of their research towards the development of inventions.
3. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Jonathan Simon The Medical Drug as a Technological Object
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This article considers the medical drug as a technological object, in order to determine what philosophy of technology can bring to the study of pharmaceuticals and what the study of medical drugs can bring to the philosophy of technology. This approach will allow us to locate the differences between the medical drug and other objects that usually form the focus for studies in the philosophy of technology, and to discuss the problematic fit of the models proposed in the field to pharmaceuticals. After reflecting on the origins of this problem in both the philosophy of pharmacy and the philosophy of technology, I propose an examination of medical drugs using an analytical schema developed by Andrew Feenberg. I expose several shortcomings of this ‘post-phenomenological’ philosophy of technology applied to medical drugs. Despite the various problems identified, I nevertheless argue that the philosophy of technology is useful for thinking about medical drugs, particularly because of the emphasis it places on the social and political dimensions of technology. In conclusion, I argue in favour of a more open, eclectic philosophical engagement with medical drugs that puts more emphasis on their economic, social and political dimensions.
4. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Ashwin Jayanti Instrumental Realisms and their Ontological Commitments
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This paper shall concern itself with two variants of instrumental realism that have developed independently of each other and have made a mark on contemporary philosophies of science as well as of technology in their own respective ways. One is that of Don Ihde, the progenitor of the postphenomenological approach to technoscience, and the other that of Davis Baird, who emphasizes the epistemic centrality of instruments as bearers of knowledge in themselves. I shall juxtapose Ihde’s instrumental realism with the instrumental realism of Baird, both of whom emphasize the importance of experimentation and instrumentation to any comprehensive philosophy of science. Whereas Ihde wants to extend hermeneutics to science praxis, Baird wants to maintain an epistemological commitment to what he calls ‘thing knowledge.’ In comparing and contrasting these two variants of instrumental realism, I shall discern the implicit ontological and epistemological claims that underlie the two realisms in the background of scientific realism and critically evaluate their contributions to a more comprehensive understanding of science, technology, and the relation between the two.
5. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Trine Antonsen, Erik Lundestad Borgmann and the Non-Neutrality of Technology
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The paper focuses on Albert Borgmann’s philosophy of technology. We argue in support of Borgmann’s “Churchill principle” (“we shape our buildings, and afterwards they shape us”) as presented in Real American Ethics (RAE) (2006) by comparing it to findings within behavioral economics in general and to the “libertarian paternalism” of Cass R. Sunstein and Richard H. Thaler in particular. According to our interpretation of it, the Churchill principle implies that because our material environment in fact influences our choices, this environment can and should be rearranged so that we “automatically” will tend to make better decisions. Having defended the Churchill principle, we go on to discuss how this principle is related to Borgmann’s approach in Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life (TCCL) (1984). In this earlier work, Borgmann suggests we reform technology by making room for focal practices, that is, meaningful practices in which we develop our skills and excellences. We argue that while these two works have different basic approaches—rearranging the material environment in RAE and developing certain skills and excellences in TCCL—they can and ought to be seen, not as mutually excluding, but as supplementing one another. Together they form a highly salient critique of technology that takes into consideration questions of the good life without becoming overly paternalistic.
book reviews
6. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Steven Umbrello Moving to a Posthuman Technosphere
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7. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
David B. Levy Trevor Pinch’s Social Construction of Science and Technology Revisited
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8. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 22 > Issue: 3
Mark Coeckelbergh, Michael Funk, Stefan Koller Wittgenstein and Philosophy of Technology: Introduction
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performing political technologies
9. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 22 > Issue: 3
Langdon Winner Technological Investigations: Wittgenstein’s Liberating Presence
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Although Ludwig Wittgenstein did not offer a fully developed philosophy of technology, his writings contain an approach to inquiry that can be employed to explore situations in which people contend with technological devices and systems. His notions of ‘language games’ and ‘forms of life’ as well as the dramatic, imaginary dialogues in his later writings offer ways to transcend the sometimes rigid theoretical frameworks in contemporary technology studies. Especially as applied to rapidly moving infusions of computing and digital electronics in contemporary society, Wittgenstein’s writings offer possibilities for fresh insight and even some practical alternatives.
10. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 22 > Issue: 3
Eric B. Litwack Wittgensteinian Humanism, Democracy, and Technocracy
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In this article, the author explores some possible applications of Wittgenstein’s humanistic psychology, epistemology and philosophy of culture for the philosophy of technology, and more particularly, for the question of valuing a possible future technocracy over contemporary democratic systems. Major aspects of the article involve a discussion of some of Wittgenstein’s key views on certainty, cultural relativism, the problem of other minds, and gradual socio-cultural change. In order to examine these problems, the author draws from both a wide range of Wittgenstein’s works, as well as secondary sources in Wittgenstein studies. An analogy is made between socio-cultural change over time and gradual visual loss. The author has incorporated important elements of Wittgenstein’s biography, both as a philosopher and as an engineer and architect, underlining the profound link between his life and thought.