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Displaying: 1-4 of 4 documents


1. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Mark Coeckelbergh The Public Thing: On the Idea of a Politics of Artefacts
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Is there a politics of artifacts, and if so, what does it mean? Defining the issue as a problem about the relation between the human and the non-human, I argue that our common philosophical concepts bar us from an adequate understanding of this problem. Using the work of Hannah Arendt and Bruno Latour, I explore an escape route that involves a radical redefinition of the social. But the cost of this solution is high: we would lose the metaphysical foundation for our belief in the absolute value and dignity of humans. We should pay that prize only if we gain a better understanding of what we are doing and what we want to do together – with things.
2. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Tore Birkeland, Roger Strand How to Understand Nano Images
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Nanoscale objects are presented by ever more sophisticated pictures (nano images). There is a need to reflect on the status of such nano images, because the “seeing” involved is of a highly indirect kind. The aim of this paper is to complement existing philosophical critique of nano images with a scientific practitioner's perspective. First, we show some reasons to consider seeing and imaging as complex endeavours not only on the micro and nano scale, but also on the macro level. Secondly, we argue that practising scientists are not only accustomed to interpret pictures and other graphical presentations of data as being partial and simplified, but that simplification is deliberate and internal. Rather than requiring that “true” images have to be representational (Pitt 2004, Pitt 2005), the paper advocates for the fruitfulness of understanding and judging images by the amount and nature of the information they convey. Scientific literacy could be improved by creative development of visualization techniques, but also by improved public understanding of images and their correct and cautious interpretation.
3. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
George Teschner, Alessandro Tomasi Technological Paradigm in Ancient Taoism
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Heidegger, Winner, and Ellul's critiques of Western technology focus on a notion of efficiency that subordinates to itself all non-instrumental values. An alternative conception of efficiency is proposed based on the Taoist theory of non-action (wu-wei). The ancient Taoist text, The Chuang Tzu, reveals a type of efficiency that is effective, resourceful, and entrepreneurial. It is a form of action which has an intimate rather than alienated relation to technology, and which is sensitive to the ethical and aesthetic values that Heidegger and Ellul claim are excluded from the Western conception of efficiency.
4. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Michael David Kirchhoff Material Agency: A Theoretical Framework for Ascribing Agency to Material Culture
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This article attempts to articulate a theoretical framework, the target of which is to systematically unearth the conditions validating the ascription of agency to material culture. A wide range of studies, located within the interdisciplinary field known as material culture studies, testify to and aim at (re)uniting the materials of material culture with the notion of agency. In this article the argument is advanced that material entities have agency only if two necessary conditions are met: an ontological condition (agency is an asymmetrical and relational category) and an epistemological condition (material entities mediate and transform human understanding). Hopefully, this way of approaching matters will help to establish a constructive framework for future debates.