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Displaying: 1-20 of 21 documents


1. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Mark Coeckelbergh Technology as Skill and Activity: Revisiting the problem of Alienation
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Can we conceive of a philosophy of technology that is not technophobic, yet takes seriously the problem of alienation and human meaning-giving? This paperretrieves the concern with alienation, but brings it into dialogue with more recent philosophy of technology. It defines and responds to the problem of alienation in a way that avoids both old-style human-centered approaches and contemporary thingcentered or hybridity approaches. In contrast to the latter, it proposes to reconcile subject and object not at the ontic level but at the ontological, transcendental level and at the level of skilled activity. Taking inspiration from Dreyfus’s reading of Heidegger and engaging critically with the work of Borgmann and Arendt, it explores a phenomenology and ethics of skill. It is concluded that new and emerging technologies must be evaluated not only as artifacts and their consequences, but also in terms of the skills and activities they involve and require. Do they promote engagement with the world and with others, thus making us into better persons?
2. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Andrew Wells Garnar Hickman, Technology, and the Postmodern Condition
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In his book Pragmatism as Post-postmodernism Larry Hickman argues that Classical Pragmatism (Peirce, James, Dewey, Mead) shares common features withpostmodern philosophies and provides a viable alternative to those philosophies. I agree with Hickman’s argument, and this paper argues that there are further connections between pragmatism and postmodernism in light of Hickman’s philosophy of technology. The paper explores the connections between postmodernism and technology, demonstrates how postmodern philosophy can be used to interpret contemporary postmodern technologies, and concludes by arguing that these interpretations fit well with Hickman’s work on technology through analyzing technologies like the iPod.
3. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Craig Condella Democracy, Narcissism, and the World Wide Web
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Against a thinker like Martin Heidegger who takes restraints on individual freedom and the promotion of authoritarianism as implicit features in the ongoing development of technology, Andrew Feenberg argues for a “democratic rationalization” of modern technology whereby people effectively choose their own futures, not in spite of their tools, but increasingly because of them. Acknowledging the Web’s democratic potential, I believe that a new threat—far different from authoritarian regimes or structures—has emerged: a rampant and multifarious narcissism that threatens to drown democratic ideals in a wave of self-obsession and self-promotion.
4. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Kimberly Bonia, Fern Brunger, Laura Fullerton, Chad Griffiths, Chris Kaposy DAKO on Trial: A Case Study in the Politics of a Medical Controversy
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This paper tells the story of a recent laboratory medicine controversy in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. During the controversy, a DAKOAutostainer machine was blamed for inaccurate breast cancer test results that led to the suboptimal treatment of many patients. In truth, the machine was not at fault. Using concepts developed by Bruno Latour and Pierre Bourdieu, we document the changing nature of the DAKO machine’s agency before, during, and after the controversy, and we make the ethical argument that treating the machine as a scapegoat was harmful to patients. The mistreatment of patients was directly tied to a misrepresentation of the DAKO machine. The way to avoid both forms of mistreatment would have been to include all humans and nonhumans affected by the controversy in the network of decision-making.
5. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Kirk Besmer Embodying a Translation Technology: The Cochlear Implant and Cyborg Intentionality
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In this paper, I seek to contribute to post-phenomenological descriptions of human-technological relations and the intentionalities exhibited in them by focusingon the intentionality exhibited in the use of a cochlear implant. To do so, I will use concepts developed by Don Ihde and further extended by Peter-Paul Verbeek to show that while post-phenomenological categories illuminate the intentional relationship of a cochlear implant wearer to her world, this relationship defies easy categorization. An examination of successful functioning with a cochlear implant will reveal a distinct form of technological embodiment and intentionality that confirms and extends previous post-phenomenological analyses.
6. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Jim Gerrie Using and Refusing: A Philosophy of Technology Critique of James Rachels's Attack on the Distinction between Killing and Letting Die
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James Rachels has argued on Utilitarian grounds that since removing life-sustaining treatment and physician-assisted suicide both aim at the very same end,hastening death to limit suffering, there are no morally significant moral distinctions between them. Others have argued for maintaining this distinction based on various forms of deontological and rights-based ethical theories that maintain that all acts of killing are inherently wrong. I argue that the enduring controversy over physician-assisted suicide might not be caused by such fundamental differences of opinion about moral theory, such as that which exists between Utilitarianism and Deontology, so much as by a commonly held misunderstanding of technology. In particular, the conclusion that there are no relevant ethical distinctions between killing and letting die can only be drawn by a Utilitarian, such as Rachels, by ignoring the recent work of philosophers of technology on the non-neutrality thesis.
7. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Nan Wang, Wenjuan Yin What Is the Character of the Techno-Human Condition?
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8. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Sven Ove Hansson De-Marginalizing the Philosophy of Technology
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Five examples are given of major philosophical discussions in which technology needs to be taken into account. In the philosophy of science, the notion of mechanism has a central role. It has a technological origin, and its interpretation has links to technology. In the philosophy of mind, a series of technological analogues have had a deep influence on our understanding of human cognition: automata and watches, telegraphy and telephony, and most recently computers. The discussion on free will largely concerns, in Locke’s words, whether we can “put morality and mechanism together.” Notions of computation and automata that have been abstracted from the behavior of technological devices are key concepts both in logic and in the philosophy of mathematics. Finally, bioethics is largely concerned with the ethical issues that new technologies give rise to in healthcare. As these examples show, there is no lack of technology-related subject matter in philosophy, but there is a lack of sustained attention to it.
9. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Robert-Jan Geerts Self-Practices and the Experiential Gap: An Analysis of Moral Behavior around Electricity Consumption
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As a way to mitigate climate change, ways to reduce electricity consump­tion are being explored. I claim Briggle and Mitcham’s experiential gap offers a useful framework to understand the workings of our environment regarding this consumption. Via Foucauldian ethics, which holds people need to relate to their environment through ‘self practices’ in order to make moral choices, I argue that the complex and opaque electrical network makes it particularly difficult to consciously curb consumption. Efforts to make the network simpler and more transparent could enable engagement and ‘ethical consumption,’ but at the cost of decreased usability.
10. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Edwin Sayes From the Sacred to the Sacred Object: Girard, Serres, and Latour on the Ordering of the Human Collective
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The philosophy of Bruno Latour has given us one of the most important statements on the part played by technology in the ordering of the human collective. Typically presented as a radical departure from mainstream social thought, Latour is not without his intellectual creditors: Michel Serres and, through him, René Girard. By tracing this development, we are led to understand better the relationship of Latour’s work, and Actor-Network Theory more generally, to traditional sociological concerns. By doing so we can also hope to understand better the role that objects play in structuring society.
11. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Ivelin Sardamov From "Bio-Power" to "Neuropolitics": Stepping beyond Foucault
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According to Foucault, power in modern society is diffuse and pervasive, and works through the agency of free subjects. Its imperatives are internalized by indi­viduals who become self-disciplined, are tied to a particular identity, and govern their own behavior accordingly. Drawing on recent insights from neuroscience, the whole process of norm internalization can be seen as an expression of “neuropower” and a form of “neuropolitics” through which social and power relations become ingrained not just in human bodies and minds, but also in human brains. In recent decades, this process has been partly reversed as a result of the proliferation of information technologies and the electronic media.
12. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Andrés Vaccari Dissolving Nature: How Descartes Made Us Posthuman
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This paper is an enquiry into the philosophical fault-line that leads from mechanicism to posthumanism. I focus on a central aspect of posthumanism: the erosion of the distinction between organism and machine, nature and art, and the biological and engineering sciences. I claim that this shift can be placed in the seventeenth century, in Descartes’s biology. The Cartesian fusion of the natural and technological opened the door to distinctly posthuman understandings of the living body, its relation to technological extensions, and the possibility of its drastic alteration. Descartes’s mechanicism demanded a reconceptualization of bodily boundaries, organismic unity, natural finality, causation, and bio/technological instrumentality; all of which Descartes boldly theorized in terms of the wondrous technologies of his day. This radical proposal obscured the possibility of thinking the human as ontologically unique, or as having an ideal unity. This paper will examine the posthuman ramifications of these aspects of Descartes’s philosophy.
13. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Piotr Boltuc The Engineering Thesis in Machine Consciousness
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I argue here that consciousness can be engineered. The claim that functional consciousness can be engineered has been persuasively put forth in regards to first-person functional consciousness; robots, for instance, can recognize colors, though there is still much debate about details of this sort of consciousness. Such consciousness has now become one of the meanings of the term phenomenal consciousness (e.g., as used by Franklin and Baars). Yet, we extend the argument beyond the tradition of behaviorist or functional reductive views on consciousness that still predominate within cognitive science. If Nagel-Chalmers-Block-style non-reductive naturalism about first-person consciousness (h-consciousness) holds true, then, eventually we should be able to understand how such consciousness operates and how it gets produced (this is not the same as bridging the explanatory gap or solving Chalmers’s hard problem of consciousness). If so, the consciousness it involves can in principle be engineered.
14. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Dana S. Belu, Sylvia Burrow, Elizabeth Soliday Introduction: Feminism, Autonomy & Reproductive Technology
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15. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Dana S. Belu Nature and Technology in Modern Childbirth: A Phenomenological Interpretation
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This paper provides a phenomenological interpretation of technological and natural childbirth. By using Heidegger’s ontology of technology to think about childbirth I argue that these two types of contemporary childbirth present us with a false dilemma as both reflect the same norms Heidegger associates with modernity, namely order, control, and efficiency. The paper briefly explains Heidegger’s concept of the enframing as the essence of the technological age whilefocusing on how it helps us to avoid falling into a technophilic or technophobic trap. Although the technophobic approach popularized by Lamaze gained some favor with feminists who saw the increased use of reproductive technology as an extension of patriarchal control over women’s bodies, I argue that this natural birthing technique incorporated order and control in ways that are similar to its technophilic counterpart. In order to move beyond what I call the reproductiveenframing, it is necessary to recognize the false dilemma presented by the technological and natural alternatives.
16. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Cynthia D. Coe, Matthew C. Altman Mandatory Ultrasound Laws and the Coercive Use of Informed Consent
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Requiring that a woman who is seeking an abortion be given the opportunity to view an ultrasound of her fetus has spread from anti-abortion “pregnancy resource centers” to state laws. Proponents of these laws claim that having access to the ultrasound image is necessary for a woman to make a medically informed decision. In this paper, we argue that ultrasound examinations frame fetuses visually and linguistically as persons and interpellate pregnant women as mothers, with all of the cultural meaning invested in those two normative concepts. Presenting these judgments as medical information is misleading. Because women are being subjected to these cultural expectations unknowingly, mandatory ultrasound laws in fact undermine women’s autonomy. Fully informed consent would include a critical engagement with social norms around femininity and a recognition that such laws are meant to advance the state’s interest in preserving potential life.
17. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Sylvia Burrow Reproductive Autonomy and Reproductive Technology
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The emergence of new forms of reproductive technology raise an increasingly complex array of social and ethical issues. Nevertheless, this paper focuses on commonplace reproductive technologies used during labor and birth such as ultrasound, fetal monitoring, episiotomy, epidurals, labor induction, amniotomy, and cesarean section. This paper maintains that social pressures increase women’s perceived need to such reproductive technologies and thus undermine women’s capacity to choose an elective cesarean or avoid an emergency cesarean. Routine, normalized use of technology interferes with the possibility of choosing use of technology where best suited through misdirecting laboring women to use technological resources whenever possible. This normalized use of technology decreases risk tolerance and increases dependence on technology for reassurance, which bears significant implications for self-trust and self-confidence. My account encourages women’s cultivation of autonomy as a capacity interconnected with our own attitudes and those of other persons; and as a function of cultivating trust and confidence in one’s body.
18. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Tanya N. Cook Hooked Up: How Electronic Fetal Monitoring Affects Maternal Agency and Maternal Autonomy
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Near ubiquitous use of electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) during low-risk childbirth constrains both maternal agency and maternal autonomy. An analysis of interdisciplinary literature about EFM reveals that its use cannot be understood apart from broader norms and values that have significant implications for the agency and autonomy of laboring women. Overreliance on EFM use for low-risk women threatens their autonomy in several ways: by privileging the status of the fetal patient, by delegitimizing women’s embodied experience of childbirth, and by constructing EFM data as objective science despite evidence to the contrary. In birth situations defined as high-risk, however, EFM may lead to greater maternal agency by enabling women to choose vaginal over cesarean birth. Viewing doctor-patient interactions as a co-construction in the context of an understanding that sees EFM as a social as well as technological construction may improve autonomy in childbirth.
19. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Elizabeth Soliday Autonomy in Maternal Accounts of Birth after Cesarean
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Following decades of maltreatment of women in obstetric care, professional respect for maternal autonomy in obstetric decision making and care have become codified in global and national professional ethical guidelines. Yet, using the example of birth after cesarean, identifiable threats to maternal autonomy in obstetrics continue. This paper focuses on how current scientific knowledge and obstetric practice patterns factor into restricted maternal autonomy as evidenced in three representative maternal accounts obtained prior and subsequent to birth after cesarean. Short- and long-term remedies to improve the current state of restricted maternal autonomy in clinical practice surrounding decision making on birth after cesarean are provided.
20. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Damien W Riggs, Clemence Due Representations of Surrogacy in Submissions to a Parliamentary Inquiry in New South Wales
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Whilst feminist commentators have long critiqued surrogacy as a practice of commodification, surrogacy as a mode of family formation continues to grow in popularity. In this paper we explore public representations of surrogacy through a discourse analytic reading of submissions made in Australia to an Inquiry regarding surrogacy legislation. The findings suggest that many submissions relied upon normative understandings of surrogates as either ‘good women’ or ‘bad mothers’. This is of concern given that such public representations may shape the views of those who utilize surrogacy services in ways that limit attention to the ethics of surrogacy.