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Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology

15 Years of Techné and 35 Years of SPT

Volume 14
Special Anniversary Issue

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Displaying: 1-20 of 28 documents


1. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 3
Katinka Waelbers, Adam Briggle Three Schools of Thought on Freedom in Liberal, Technological Societies
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Are citizens of contemporary technological society authors of their own lives? With Alasdair MacIntyre (contemporary Aristotelianism), Bruno Latour (Science and Technology Studies) and Albert Borgmann (Philosophy of Technology), we discuss the shortcomings of traditional liberalism in terms of its ability to answer this question. MacIntyre argues that biological vulnerabilities and social interdependencies establish meaningful parameters within which reason and willing emerge. But MacIntyre ignores technologies as a third parameter. Latour defines humans as nodes in a socio-technical network, in which technologies are actors on par with humans. However, Latour adopts a purely external perspective, ignoring human intentions, desires, and reasons. Borgmann argues that although freedom of choice is severely restricted, sometimes one can still resist the rule of technology. But Borgmann denies the pluralism of modern societies. Although all three schools have their shortcomings, combined, they provide us with a valuable palette of insights on human agency in a technological culture.
2. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 3
Wolter Pieters Reve{a,i}ling the Risks: A Phenomenology of Information Security
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In information security research, perceived security usually has a negative meaning, when it is used in contrast to actual security. From a phenomenological perspective, however, perceived security is all we have. This paper develops a phenomenological account of information security, in which a distinction is made between revealed and reveiled security instead. Linking these notions with the concepts of confidence and trust, the paper provides a phenomenological explanation of the electronic voting controversy in the Netherlands.
3. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 3
Bibi Van Den Berg I-Object: Intimate Technologies as 'Reference Groups' in the Construction of Identities
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In this article, I will investigate the ways in which Ambient Intelligence, the technological paradigm of the near future proposed by the European Union and the electronics multinational Philips, will affect the ways in which individuals construct and express their identities. The Ambient Intelligence vision predicts a world in which technologies will deliver personalized services in a proactive (rather than a responsive or interactive) fashion. I argue that this brings about a change in the way we interact with these technologies, which in turn has an effect on the way we construct and express identities in relation to such technologies. In a world of Ambient Intelligence, I will argue in this article, technological artifacts may come to function as ‘reference collectivities’, comparable to human reference groups. Due to their proactivity, their level of autonomy and self-reliance and our personalized interactions with them, these technologies will come to function as ‘others’, rather than as ‘quasi-others’.
4. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 3
Jos De Mul Moral Machines: ICTs as Mediators of Human Agencies
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In spite of the popularity of computer ethics, ICTs appear to undermine our moral autonomy in several ways. This article focuses on the ‘delegation’ of our moral agency to machines. Three stages of delegation are distinguished: implementation of moral values and norms in the design of artefacts, delegation of moral means to machines, and delegation of both moral means and goals to machines. Second, it is argued that the ‘outsourcing’ of moral agency does not necessarily lead to the undermining of our moral autonomy, but might enhance it as well.
5. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 3
Andrew Ward Virtual Communities: Ontology and Politics
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The Internet, as it exists today, is an outgrowth of the late 1960’s Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. During the 1980’s, the National Science Foundation established a high-speed, high-capacity network called NSFnet connecting many universities and government agencies. Finally, with the creation of the World Wide Web and the development and diffusion of inexpensive, reliable and easy to use public Internet access, electronic information technologies connect an increasingly large portion of the population. As a result, the communities with which we are all familiar, communities based on geographic proximity, have changed. These sorts of changes raise many interesting but difficult questions. This paper focuses on two of those questions. First, what does the increasing use of and reliance on electronically mediated communications portend for our understanding of human communities, and second, what sorts of socio-political concepts and relationships best characterize the new “virtual community”?
6. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 3
Michelle Sandell Astronomy and Experimentation
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In this paper I contest Ian Hacking’s claim that astronomers do not experiment. Riding on this thesis is a re-evaluation of his view that astronomers are less justified than other natural scientists in believing in the existence of the objects they study, and that astronomers are not proper natural scientists at all. The defense of my position depends upon carefully examining what, exactly, is being manipulated in an experiment, and the role of experimental effects for Hacking’s experimental realism. I argue that Hacking’s experimental realism is not adequately defended, and even if we accept it in good grace, the case can be still made that astronomers experiment by Hacking’s account.
book reviews
7. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 3
Wybo Houkes Review of A Companion to the Philosophy of Technology
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8. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 3
Janna Rosales Remembering How to Forget
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9. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 3
Michael V. Butera Blip, Ping, & Buzz
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10. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Sylvia Blad The Impact of 'Anthropotechnology' on Human Evolution
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From the time that they diverged from their common ancestor, chimpanzees and humans have had a very different evolutionary path. It seems obvious that the appearance of culture and technology has increasingly alienated humans from the path of natural selection that has informed chimpanzee evolution. According to philosopher Peter Sloterdijk any type of technology is bound to have genetic effects. But to what extent do genomic comparisons provide evidence for such an impact of ‘anthropotechnology’ on our biological evolution?
11. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
S. D. Noam Cook Turing, Searle, and the Wizard of Oz: Life and Custom Among the Automata or How Ought We to Assess the Attribution of Capacities of Living Systems to Technological Artefacts?
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Since the middle of the 20th century there has been a significant debate about the attribution of capacities of living systems, particularly humans, to technological artefacts, especially computers—from Turing’s opening gambit, to subsequent considerations of artificial intelligence, to recent claims about artificial life. Some now argue that the capacities of future technologies will ultimately make it impossible to draw any meaningful distinctions between humans and machines. Such issues center on what sense, if any, it makes to claim that gadgets can actually think, feel, act, live, etc. I outline this debate and offer a critique of its persistent polarization. I characterize two of the debate’s major camps (associated roughly with Turing and Searle); argue that the debate’s structure (including key assumptions inherent to each camp) precludes resolution; and, contend that some central clashes within the debate actually stem from an inadequately drawn distinction between claims about the capacities of artifacts and claims about the proper criteria for assessing such attributions. I offer a different perspective in which I: challenge some central elements of the debate that contribute to its perennially irresolvable state; hold that the debate needs to be placed more squarely in sync with how we in fact treat the attribution of such capacities to humans themselves; and, offer (unlike the other two camps) a foothold for making moral assessments of such proposed technologies.
12. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Yoni Van Den Eede Collecting Our Lives Online: The Use of Digital Media Seen through the Lens of Collecting Practices
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As we become more and more involved with digital technologies on a daily basis, we are in need of a model to make sense of what we do with and “in” them. Here we analyze the use of digital media by way of a collecting paradigm, since our online activities – centered on selecting, accumulating, organizing, and showing – strongly resemble the practice of collectors. In the first part of the paper, we outline the main traits of collecting practices, and discuss relevant online practices in the light of these traits, thereby tracing the contours of an online “collecting culture.” In the second part, we list the possible underlying causes and motivations for collecting, and investigate how far these explanations also apply to online activity, so offering a preliminary framework for the further study of online practices.
13. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
José Manuel de Cózar-Escalante Living in a Nanotech Home: Invisibility, Representation and Democratic Oversight of Nanotechnological Developments
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While applying general ethical principles and reasoning to the dilemmas presented by the development of nanotechnology is often useful and always legitimate, we also need to find a way to bridge the gap between general principles and the specific issues that arise from the development of individual nanotechnologies. Drawing inspiration from pragmatist thinking, a useful strategy is to focus on the links between the epistemological, political and social representations of a particular case. Using the example of a nanotechnological house, this paper analyzes the problematic connections between scientific knowledge, technical expertise, decision-making and public engagement in nanotechnology representational networks.
14. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Kirsty Best Redefining the Technology of Media: Actor, World, Relation
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As scholars of technology investigate changes to media alongside the growing popularity of the Internet, video games and other media devices, the descriptive characteristics of media themselves have become stretched further and further to accommodate a raft of new content, technologies and distribution platforms. This stretching becomes a problem when it becomes important to conceptually separate the formerly non-mediated communication devices, such as mobile phones, from their re-emergence as media platforms. A clear separation is important for asking questions about what cultural, social, economic and political effects such media encroachment might entail. The current paper attempts such a conceptual distinction.
book reviews
15. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Phillippe Verdoux Minds and Computers
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16. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Paul B. Thompson Beyond Environmentalism
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17. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
David Bzdak Shop Class as Soulcraft
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18. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Peter Nekola Material Matters
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19. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Preface to the Anniversary Special Issue
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20. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Andrew Feenberg Ten Paradoxes of Technology
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Though we may be competent at using many technologies, most of what we think we know about technology in general is false. Our error stems from the everyday conception of things as separate from each other and from us. In reality technologies belong to an interconnected network the nodes of which cannot exist independently qua technologies. What is more we tend to see technologies as quasi-natural objects, but they are just as much social as natural, just as much determined by the meanings we give them as by the causal laws that rule over their powers. The errors of common sense have political consequences in domains such as, development, medicine and environmental policy. In this paper I summarize many of the conclusions philosophy of technology has reached reflecting on the reality of our technological world. These conclusions appear as paradoxes judged from our everyday perspective.This paper presents a philosophy of technology. It draws on what we have learnt in the last 30 years as we abandoned old Heideggerian and positivist notions and faced the real world of technology. It turns out that most of our common sense ideas about technology are wrong. This is why I have put my ten propositions in the form of paradoxes, although I use the word loosely here to refer to the counter-intuitive nature of much of what we know about technology.