Cover of Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology
Already a subscriber? - Login here
Not yet a subscriber? - Subscribe here

Browse by:

Displaying: 101-120 of 465 documents

101. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2/3
Arianne Conty How to Differentiate a Macintosh from a Mongoose: Technological and Political Agency in the Age of the Anthropocene
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
Many scholars have understood the Anthropocene as confirming the patient work in the social sciences to deconstruct the nature/culture divide, for the human being is now present in the entire eco-system, from deet-resistant mosquitoes to the ozone hole in the heavens. Scholars like Bruno Latour have claimed that nature and culture have always been co-determined and thus that their separation was a case of modern bad faith with disastrous consequences. Because Latour blames this divide on the human exceptionalism that pitted a human subject against a world of objects, and thus denied agency to other living and nonliving actants, the solution for Latour lies in recognizing their agency in an ‘enlarged democracy.’ Such scholarship has inspired many scholars to adopt a ‘flat ontology’ that treats all forms of agency, whether animate or inanimate, as equivalent and autonomous material forces. This article will elucidate Latour’s ‘democracy of things’ and explore the beneficial consequences for the Anthropocene of attributing autonomous agency to non-human actants, while at the same time discussing the negative repercussions of reifying the agency of technological tools as separate from human agency. Due to such widespread reification of technological agency, it will be shown that causal analysis that traces such agency back to its source in human political organization is required in order to adequately respond to the Anthropocene.
102. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2/3
Yuk Hui On Cosmotechnics: For a Renewed Relation between Technology and Nature in the Anthropocene
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
This article aims to bring forward a critical reflection on a renewed relation between nature and technology in the Anthropocene, by contextualizing the question around the recent debates on the “ontological turn” in Anthropology, which attempts to go beyond the nature and culture dualism analysed as the crisis of modernity. The “politics of ontologies” associated with this movement in anthropology opens up the question of participation of non-humans. This article contrasts this anthropological attempt with the work of the philosopher Gilbert Simondon, who wants to overcome the antagonism between culture and technics. According to Simondon, this antagonism results from the technological rupture of modernity at the end of the eighteenth century. This paper analyses the differences of the oppositions presenting their work: culture vs. nature, culture vs. technics, to show that a dialogue between anthropology of nature (illustrated through the work of Philippe Descola) and philosophy of technology (illustrated through the work of Simondon) will be fruitful to conceptualize a renewed relation between nature and technology. One way to initiate such a conversation as well as to think about the reconciliation between nature and technology, this article tries to show, is to develop the concept of cosmotechnics as the denominator of these two trends of thinking.
103. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2/3
Alexander Wilson Techno-Optimism and Rational Superstition
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
This article examines some of the implications of technological optimism. I first contextualize, historically and culturally (Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar [2014] is considered as a particularly salient example), some contemporary variants of techno-optimism in relation to the equally significant contemporary exemplars of techno-pessimism, skepticism and fatalism. I show that this techno-optimism is often instrumentalized in the sense that the optimistic outlook as such is believed to have some influence on the evolving state of affairs. The cogency of this assumption is scrutinized. I argue that in the absence of explicit probabilities, such optimism presupposes some form of retro-causation, where the future is held to somehow have a retroactive effect on the past. This suggests that the underlying mechanism by which techno-optimism is supposed to be instrumental in bringing about the future is fundamentally superstitious. Such superstition, of course, goes against our common understanding of reason and rationality, for adopting rational expectations about the world requires that we avoid the emotional over-determination of our assessments. I show that applied reason is conceptually entangled with this superstitious optimism in the continued successes of technology. The article thus reveals a curious sense in which reason is intrinsically superstitious. I offer an evolutionary explanation for this, showing that the biological origins of reason will by nature tend to produce rational agents which are superstitiously bound to realism and causality, and thus implicitly optimistic about technology’s capacity to overcome contingency.
104. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2/3
Danika Drury-Melnyk Beyond Adaptation and Anthropomorphism: Technology in Simondon
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
This paper attempts to bring the work of Gilbert Simondon into conversation with contemporary discourse on climate change and the Anthropocene. Though his work pre-dates the coining of the term, Simondon, with his non-anthropomorphic view of technology, is in many ways a philosopher of the Anthropocene. In this paper I contrast Simondon’s philosophy to the popular idea that technology is something we can use to adapt to the practical problems of the Anthropocene. I will begin by looking briefly at the narrative of adaptation in the Anthropocene. I will then discuss Simondon’s philosophy of individuation in order to understand why he rejects these narratives of adaptation. Next, I will look at his own ideas on the role that can be played by technology. Ultimately, I hope to describe why, for Simondon, a view of technology that centres on relation rather than on a particular view of the human subject is crucial to human life. The significance of a non-anthropomorphic approach to technology extends beyond the current ecological crisis to all manner of injustice, violence, and misunderstanding between human groups as well as the environment.
105. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2/3
Bernard Stiegler, Daniel Ross What Is Called Caring?: Beyond the Anthropocene
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
This article addresses the question under what conditions it is still possible to think in today’s era of the Anthropocene, in which the human has become the key factor in the evolution of the biosphere, considering the fact, structurally neglected by philosophy, that thinking is thoroughly conditioned by a technical milieu of retentional dispositives. The Anthropocene results from modern technology’s domination of the earth through industrialization that is currently unfolding as a process of generalized, digital automation, which tends to eliminate reflection and to block any genuine questioning of its own development, producing a state of generalized entropy at all levels—ecological, psychic, social, economic, and, in particular, the noetic or thinking. The radical undermining of the very possibility of thinking and questioning, thought by Martin Heidegger in terms of Enframing, should be understood as a pharmacological situation that calls for a therapeutic reversal of the toxicity of current digital technologies into a remedial instrument for realizing a negentropic turn beyond the Anthropocene and toward the Neganthropocene. This requires that thinking starts to understand itself as caring, i.e., as a taking care of itself by taking care of the technical pharmaka that thoroughly constitute and condition it and that can render human life as noetic life both deeply unlivable and profoundly worthwhile.
106. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Gili Yaron, Guy Widdershoven, Jenny Slatman Recovering a "Disfigured" Face: Cosmesis in the Everyday Use of Facial Prostheses
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
Prosthetic devices that replace an absent body part are generally considered to be either cosmetic or functional. Functional prostheses aim to restore (some degree of) lost physical functioning. Cosmetic prostheses attempt to restore a “normal” appearance to bodies that lack (one or more) limbs by emulating the absent body part’s looks. In this article, we investigate how cosmetic prostheses establish a normal appearance by drawing on the stories of the users of a specific type of artificial limb: the facial prosthesis. Given that prostheses are first and foremost devices worn upon the body, such an analysis requires an understanding of the ways in which bodies and technologies interact. We thus interpret users’ stories by critically engaging with the work of disability researcher and Actor-Network theorist Myriam Winance, as well as with the postphenomenological scholarship of Don Ihde and Peter-Paul Verbeek. Using this framework, we explore users’ attempts to achieve a proper fit between their faces and their prostheses, the technological transparency such a fit enables, and the ways in which transparency mediates users’ everyday exchanges with others. We conclude that a normal appearance, when it is achieved by means of prosthetics, enables the device’s user to navigate a precarious social environment as they encounter and interact with others in public.
107. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Hub Zwart “Extimate” Technologies and Techno-Cultural Discontent: A Lacanian Analysis of Pervasive Gadgets
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
According to a chorus of authors, the human life-world is currently invaded by an avalanche of high-tech devices referred to as “emerging,” ”intimate,” or ”NBIC” technologies: a new type of contrivances or gadgets designed to optimize cognitive or sensory performance and / or to enable mood management. Rather than manipulating objects in the outside world, they are designed to influence human bodies and brains more directly, and on a molecular scale. In this paper, these devices will be framed as ‘extimate’ technologies (both intimate and external; both embedded and foreign; both life-enhancing and intrusive), a concept borrowed from Jacques Lacan. Although Lacan is not commonly regarded as a philosopher of technology, the dialectical relationship between human desire and technological artefacts runs as an important thread through his work. Moreover, he was remarkably prescient concerning the blending of life science and computer science, which is such a distinctive feature of the current techno-scientific turn. Building on a series of Lacanian concepts, my aim is to develop a psychoanalytical diagnostic of the technological present. Finally, I will indicate how such an analysis may inform our understanding of human life and embodiment as such.
108. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Christopher Ryan Maboloc Social Transformation and Online Technology: Situating Herbert Marcuse in the Internet Age
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
The Internet age has seen the influential rise of social media. Consumer culture is tied to this modern phenomenon. This paper begins with an exposition of Herbert Marcuse’s grounding in phenomenology and his subsequent critique of Heidegger’s apolitical Dasein. In explicating Marcuse’s critical theory of technology, this paper will retrace Hegel’s influence on Marcuse in the idea of the dialectic. The dialectic is an integral aspect of social transformation. While modern technology may be value-neutral, it is argued herein that the lack of depth in social media provokes thought and invites critical dissent. Marcuse believes in the capacity of modern tools to effect social reform through adaptation. But emerging pathologies from online technology also have pressing challenges. For instance, social media makes manifest a dominant order that can be manipulative. It can be said that particular interests, notably from business and capitalists, shape the type of consumer culture that online technology promotes. In advancing Marcuse’s relevance in today’s Internet age, the paper will explore how social media as a platform can truly liberate the individual from the ills that consumerism peddles online.
109. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Timothy Colburn, Gary Shute Type and Metaphor for Computer Programmers
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
The duality of computer programs is characterized, on the one hand, by their physical implementations on physical devices, and, on the other, by the conceptual implementations in programmers’ minds of the objects making up the computational processes they conceive. We contend that central to programmers’ conceptual implementations are (i) the concept of type, at both the programming and the design level, and (ii) metaphors created to facilitate these implementations.
book review
110. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Alberto Romele Entangled in Digital Media: Review of Digital Media: Human-Technology Connection, by Stacey O’Neal Irwin
view |  rights & permissions | cited by
111. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 20 > Issue: 3
Christine Boshuijzen-van Burken Beyond Technological Mediation: A Normative Practice Approach
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
Several philosophers of technology have argued that technology mediates human actions. For example, in the branch of post-phenomenology, authors such as Don Ihde and Peter-Paul Verbeek have described the mediating aspects of technology in terms of morality of technology (more prominent in Verbeek) as well as in the sense that technology changes our perception of ourselves and the world (more prominent in Ihde). In this article, different existing types of mediation are presented, critiqued, and enriched. The four types are illustrated by referring to military high-tech environments with a focus on visual data and imaging technologies. These technologies can mediate actions (1) by inviting certain behavior, (2) through amplification and reduction, (3) through built-in norms, and (4) through interpretation. The four types of mediation mainly focus on the technology or technological artifact itself. What these approaches fail to grasp, however, is the specific user practices in which most technologies function. In this article, it is argued that to understand the mediating aspects of technology more fully, attention should be paid to the specific user context in which the technology functions. Therefore, an enriched understanding of the four types of mediation of technology is proposed by taking the lens of normative practices and analyzing the different types of mediation through this lens. The Kunduz airstrike incident, which took place in 2009 in Afghanistan, is a case in which a visual data sharing device called Rover played a prominent role. This case is used in this article to illustrate how technology mediates human actions in military practice.
112. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 20 > Issue: 3
Chrysanthos Voutounos, Andreas Lanitis A Cultural Semiotic Aesthetic Approach for a Virtual Heritage Project: Part A—The Semiotic Foundations of the Approach
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
This paper presents an integrated framework applied towards the design and evaluation of a virtual museum of Byzantine art that combines the theorized fields of semiotics, virtual heritage (VH), and Byzantine art. A devised semiotic model, the case study semiosphere, synthesizes important principles from the theoretical background justifying the overall design and evaluation methodology. The approach presented has theoretical extensions to the understanding of the role technology plays in promoting a consummatory aesthetic experience for Byzantine art in virtual environments, complementing the experience received from traditional Byzantine art media. Part A of the work presents the development of the semiotic foundation of the study prior to presenting the applied potential of the approach in design and evaluation of VH for Byzantine art, which appears in Part B. The final task of the proposed approach aims to support a meaningful interpretation, assisting in the promotion of the significance (value) of the virtual museum to potential interpreters/visitors.
113. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 20 > Issue: 3
Daniel Susser Information Privacy and Social Self-Authorship
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
The dominant approach in privacy theory defines information privacy as some form of control over personal information. In this essay, I argue that the control approach is mistaken, but for different reasons than those offered by its other critics. I claim that information privacy involves the drawing of epistemic boundaries—boundaries between what others should and shouldn’t know about us. While controlling what information others have about us is one strategy we use to draw such boundaries, it is not the only one. We conceal information about ourselves and we reveal it. And since the meaning of information is not self-evident, we also work to shape how others contextualize and interpret the information that they have about us. Information privacy is thus about more than controlling information; it involves the constant work of producing and managing public identities, what I call “social self-authorship.” In the second part of the essay, I argue that thinking about information privacy in these terms reveals threats to privacy that the control approach neglects. Namely, information technology makes social self-authorship invisible and unnecessary by making it difficult for us to know when others are forming impressions about us and by providing others with tools for making assumptions about who we are which obviate the need for our involvement in the process.
114. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 20 > Issue: 3
Stevens F. Wandmacher The Bright Line of Ethical Agency
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
In his article The Nature, Importance, and Difficulty of Machine Ethics, James H. Moor distinguishes two lines of argument for those who wish to draw a “bright line” between full ethical agents, such as human beings, and “weaker” ethical agents, such as machines whose actions have significant moral ramifications. The first line of argument is that only full ethical agents are agents at all. The second is that no machine could have the presumed features necessary for ethical agency. This paper shows why Moor is mistaken in his refutation of the first line of argument; it also makes a positive case that “weaker” ethical agents are not agents at all. This positive case, however, allows Moor’s rejection of the second line of argument to stand: allowing that there could be moral machines, but that these machines would have to be full moral agents and not merely something that models moral behavior or can be used in morally charged ways.
115. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 20 > Issue: 3
Maja Hojer Bruun The Importance of Cultural Learning Processes for the Study of Technology
view |  rights & permissions | cited by
116. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Robert Rosenberger Ihde and Husserl: A Symposium on Don Ihde's Husserl's Missing Technologies
view |  rights & permissions | cited by
117. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Shannon Vallor Ihde, Technoscience, and the Resilience of Phenomenology
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
My review of Don Ihde’s new book, Husserl’s Missing Technologies begins by identifying a thematic link binding its chapters: specifically, the exploration of alternative histories for the trajectory of classical Husserlian phenomenology. Ihde’s book can be seen as a meditation on questions like the following: “What might phenomenology have been had Husserl paid more attention to the essential role of instrumentation and experiment in science, or to the mediating role of technologies in perception? What road might phenomenology have taken had Husserl traveled it in conversation with John Dewey, rather than the ghost of Descartes?” The book ably demonstrates how such alternative paths might have enriched philosophy, in ways that closely mirror Ihde’s own contributions to postphenomenological thought. In particular, Ihde exposes Husserl’s failure to grasp technoscience as an activity that does not only reduce materiality to mathematical formalisms, but produces new material forms and sensibilities. Yet I resist the book’s implied charge that Husserlian phenomenology is a moribund tradition that has largely exhausted its power. Instead, I argue that the progressive force and intrinsic elasticity of the phenomenological method endures in spite of the inevitable limits of Husserl’s philosophical imagination, allowing his assumptions and results (and ours) to be remade again and again in the light of the ‘things themselves.’ Moreover, the relevance of Husserl’s critique of reductive scientism has enduring relevance today; while modern science may be a practice far richer than Husserl understood, the science of our day is far from rich enough.
118. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Robert P. Crease Missing Ihde
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
This article investigates how lack of a phenomenology of technology has hurt understanding of the lifeworld.  One way, as Ihde has shown, involves a failure to appreciate the instrumental mediation of experience and the extension of perception.  But Ihde also fails to notice the background in which these mediations are taking place and which shapes the mediations themselves and our interpretation of them; not even the research of technoscientists takes place in a neutral atmosphere that does not affect how we work.  This article also discusses hermeneutic distortion, or the gap in collective interpretive resources that occurs when the technoscientific infrastructure withdraws and becomes all but invisible, encouraging the tendency to treat scientific conclusions as mere opinions, and technoscientific devices as accessory rather than integral to the modern world.
119. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Yoni Van Den Eede Variations upon Ihde’s Husserl’s Missing Technologies
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
In his new book, Husserl’s Missing Technologies, Don Ihde provides yet another, and highly enriching, iteration of postphenomenology. My comments here concern a couple of observations that he makes along the way with regard to the “scientific” status of philosophy and the question of whether philosophies, like technologies, have “use-lifes.” These remarks actually pierce through to the core of the postphenomenological theoretical corpus. In particular, there are consequences for the concept of multistability that need to be discussed: Are some stabilities better than others? In asking that question, which deserves the most emphasis: actuality or potentiality? And to what extent is there a continuity between “ideas” (i.e., theories) and technologies?
120. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Lenore Langsdorf From Interrelational Ontology to Instrumental Ethics: Expanding Pragmatic Postphenomenology
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
Current human/social science research supports Don Ihde’s postphenomenology. In particular, archeology and anthropology support Ihde’s instrumental realism, and history identifies the culture that nourished Platonic and Aristotelian separation of mentality and materiality. Deweyean pragmatism, beginning with his analysis of the reflex arc, supports both instrumental realism and an interrelational ontology that rejects the residual Cartesian dualism in Husserlian phenomenology. Ihde’s acknowledgment of the affinity between postphenomenology and Deweyean pragmatism enables expanding his prevalent epistemological and structural orientation to encompass a normative dimension. Peter-Paul Verbeek’s focus on the ethical dimension of how products are designed and how things interact with humans is an important expansion of pragmatic postphenomenology as well as an expansion of current research on the “4e’s” of cognition—embedded, embodied, enacted, and extended—to include a fifth: ethical.