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Displaying: 41-60 of 465 documents


41. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Robert Rosenberger “But, That’s Not Phenomenology!”: A Phenomenology of Discriminatory Technologies
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A discussion is emerging within the contemporary philosophy of technology over issues of discrimination through design. My suggestion is that a productive way to approach this topic is through a combination of insights from the postphenomenological and critical constructivist perspectives. In particular, I recommend that we build on the postphenomenological notion of “multistability” (i.e., the idea that technologies are always subject to different uses and meanings) and conceive of instances of discrimination through design as a kind of discriminatory “stability,” one possible instantiation of a device that could be usefully contrasted with others. Through the adoption of ideas from critical constructivism and postphenomenology, it is possible to draw out some of the features of discriminatory stabilities, including how systems of bias can go unnoticed, especially by those not targeted by them. These ideas could be of use in the identification of ways that unjust systematic biases become set within dominant culture, designed into technologies, sedimented within individual bodily-perceptual habits, and even constructed into prevailing senses of reason. As a practical contribution to this ongoing discussion, I identify a distinction that can be made between two broad categories of discrimination via technology: 1. that occurring along what could be called “an axis of difference,” and 2. “an axis of usage.” In the former, discriminatory efforts occur as different users are advantaged and disadvantaged by a device, even as they use it for similar purposes. In the latter, discriminatory effects occur as the particular usage of a technology preferred by a vulnerable group is shut down through design choices. Although the various emerging discussions on technology and discrimination each tend to gravitate toward analysis along one of these axes, it will of course be important to keep our eyes on the variety of ways that biases are faced by the vulnerable.
42. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Yoni Van Den Eede The Purpose of Theory: Why Critical Constructivism Should “Talk” and Postphenomenology Should “Do”
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This paper zooms in on a recent development in the discussion between postphenomenology and critical constructivism: the attempt at working out a political philosophy in the framework of postphenomenology, specifically Peter-Paul Verbeek’s. Verbeek contrasts mediation theory to critical theory, arguing that critical theorists only “talk”; they don’t “do.” While the latter reproach postphenomenology/mediation theory for its lack of politics, Verbeek actually poses that “real” politics cannot be done by critical theorists—indeed exactly because of their not doing, that is, doing in the sense of helping to design and develop good real-world technological solutions. But this brings up pertinent questions, about whether a theory should “do” something, what that means, and whether calls for “doing” do not carry their own presuppositions with them that, if not made explicit, will bias the theory and its “use” toward certain directions. These issues are explored by way of among others an excursion into Rortyan pragmatism. Eventually, I conclude, it is perfectly acceptable that critical constructivism should “talk” and postphenomenology “do”—as long as we keep the meanings of those terms sufficiently clear.
43. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Daryl Cressman Contingency and Potential: Reconsidering a Dialectical Philosophy of Technology
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Unsatisfied with an intellectual history that divides the philosophy of technology into classical and empirical approaches, the following paper suggests a renewed attention to dialectical philosophies of technology. Drawing on the work of Andrew Feenberg, I argue that dialectical philosophies of technology are not essentialist holdovers from the past, but are empirically grounded approaches that direct researchers to ask why we have the technologies we do. From this, dialectical philosophies of technology open up ways to think about technology that prioritize the tension between the sociotechnical world as it is and concrete potentials of what it could be. Contrasting this against postphenomenology, I argue that avoiding these moments of potential can lead to a conservative and paternalistic philosophy of technology that fixes sociotechnical agency to a professional class of designers, engineers, and policy makers. I conclude by suggesting that Feenberg's dialectical philosophy of technology presents a modest alternative to the design imperatives that now guide the trajectory of postphenomenology.
44. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Tina Sikka The “Embodied Multi-Material Layering” of In Vitro Meat
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In this article, I offer what I term a ‘embodied multi-material layering’ approach to study the phenomenon of laboratory or in vitro meat using insights from Don Ihde’s postphenomenological approach and Andrew Feenberg’s theory of critical constructivism. This approach offers a reflective, analytic, and normative model of technological analysis and critique that is indispensable to the study of the cutting edge technologies that combine bioinformatics with agrifood research and biomedical engineering.
45. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Nolen Gertz Democratic Potentialities and Toxic Actualities: Feenberg, Ihde, Arendt, and the Internet
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In this paper I argue that while Feenberg’s critical constructivism can help us to see the political potential of technologies, it cannot help us to understand the political actuality of technologies without the help of postphenomenology. In part 2, I examine Feenberg’s attempt to merge Frankfurt School critical theory and SCOT into “critical constructivism.” In part 3, I focus on Feenberg’s analyses of the internet in order to highlight a blind spot in critical constructivism when it comes to threats to democracy that come from out of the demos itself. In part 4, I show how critical constructivism would benefit from adopting the theory of technological mediation found in postphenomenology by presenting a postphenomenological investigation of trolling and other forms of destructive behavior unaccounted for by Feenberg’s investigation of the internet. In part 5, I conclude by turning to the work of Hannah Arendt in order to show why, just as critical constructivism could benefit from becoming more postphenomenological, postphenomenology could benefit from becoming more critical.
46. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Lisa Nelson The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
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There is little debate that there are important ethical questions that we must answer as we increase our reliance on social networking technologies such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube for our communications, interactions and connections. Social media is at the center of many of our greatest public policy challenges but the moral (or immoral) role it plays in relation to human behavior is far from settled. Part of the difficulty we face in addressing the unique challenges of social networking technologies is discerning the significance of social networking on us. This is because we often begin with an erroneous assumption. The moral significance of technologies generally—not only social networking technologies—is hampered by the insistence that technologies are typically considered objects and we are human, and the province of morality has long been ours. Postphenomenological inquiries can help to fashion technological development in pursuit of understanding how our moral behavior takes shape, but we can also take a critical perspective on who we are and what we are becoming in light of what social networking technologies reveal about the state of our ontological Being.
47. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Tom Børsen Bridging Critical Constructivism and Postphenomenology at Techno-Anthropology
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Both postphenomenology and critical constructivism are central paradigms used as philosophies and theoretical resources at the Master’s program in Techno-Anthropology at Aalborg University. In the fall of 2018 a didactical experiment was set up as Techno-Anthropology Master’s students were introduced to postphenomenology and critical constructivism and asked to compare these two theoretical positions. This comparative assignment and following class discussions between students, a guest lecturer and teachers is the point of departure for this paper. First, the paper introduces Techno-Anthropology with a special focus on the roles of postphenomenology and critical constructivism in the Master’s program. The next part of the paper zooms in on how these two philosophical positions were presented to the students. The third part analyzes students’ comparisons of postphenomenology and critical constructivism. On that basis, the author identifies similarities and differences between the two positions and discusses how the two positions can complement each other in a unified Techno-Anthropological research strategy.
book review
48. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Mithun Bantwal Rao Philosophy of Technology in the Anthropocene avant la lettre
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49. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 3
Johanna Seibt, Raffaele Rodogno Understanding Emotions and Their Significance through Social Robots, and Vice Versa
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50. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 3
Kerstin Fischer Why Collaborative Robots Must Be Social (and even Emotional) Actors
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In this article, I address the question whether or not robots should be social actors and suggest that we do not have much choice but to construe collaborative robots as social actors. Social cues, including emotional displays, serve coordination functions in human interaction and therefore have to be used, even by robots, in order for long-term collaboration to succeed. While robots lack the experiential basis of emotional display, also in human interaction much emotional expression is part of conventional social practice; if robots are to participate in such social practices, they need to produce such signals as well. I conclude that if we aim to share our social spaces with robots, they better be social actors, which may even include the display of emotions. This finding is of empirical as well as philosophical relevance because it shifts the ethical discussion away from the question, how social collaborative robots should be, to the question, what kinds of human-robot collaborations we want.
51. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 3
Janna van Grunsven, Aimee van Wynsberghe A Semblance of Aliveness: How the Peculiar Embodiment of Sex Robots Will Matter
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While the design of sex robots is still in the early stages, the social implications of the potential proliferation of sex robots into our lives has been heavily debated by activists and scholars from various disciplines. What is missing in the current debate on sex robots and their potential impact on human social relations is a targeted look at the boundedness and bodily expressivity typically characteristic of humans, the role that these dimensions of human embodiment play in enabling reciprocal human interactions, and the manner in which this contrasts with sex robot-human interactions. Through a fine-grained discussion of these themes, rooted in fruitful but largely untapped resources from the field of enactive embodied cognition, we explore the unique embodiment of sex robots. We argue that the embodiment of the sex robot is constituted by what we term restricted expressivity and a lack of bodily boundedness and that this is the locus of negative but also potentially positive implications. We discuss the possible benefits that these two dimensions of embodiment may have for people within a specific demographic, namely some persons on the autism spectrum. Our preliminary conclusion—that the benefits and the downsides of sex robots reside in the same capability of the robot, its restricted expressivity and lack of bodily boundedness as we call it—demands we take stock of future developments in the design of sex robot embodiment. Given the importance of evidence-based research pertaining to sex robots in particular, as reinforced by Nature (2017) for drawing correlations and making claims, the analysis is intended to set the stage for future research.
52. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 3
Jaana Parviainen, Lina van Aerschot, Tuomo Särkikoski, Satu Pekkarinen, Helinä Melkas Motions with Emotions?: A Phenomenological Approach to Understanding the Simulated Aliveness of a Robot Body
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This article examines how the interactive capabilities of companion robots, particularly their materiality and animate movements, appeal to human users and generate an image of aliveness. Building on Husserl’s phenomenological notion of a ‘double body’ and theories of emotions as affective responses, we develop a new understanding of the robots’ simulated aliveness. Analyzing empirical findings of a field study on the use of the robot Zora in care homes for older people, we suggest that the aliveness of companion robots is the result of a combination of four aspects: 1) material ingredients, 2) morphology, 3) animate movements guided by software programs and human operators as in Wizard of Oz-settings and 4) anthropomorphising narratives created by their users to support the robot’s performance. We suggest that narratives on affective states, such as, sleepiness or becoming frightened attached to the robot trigger users’ empathic feelings, caring and tenderness toward the robot.
53. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 3
Felix Tun Han Lo The Dilemma of Openness in Social Robots
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This paper conducts a philosophical inquiry into past empirical research that reveals emotional coupling and category confusion between the human and the social robot. It examines whether emotional coupling and category confusion would increase or diminish the reification of human emotion and the human milieu by examining whether they fulfill the ideal of openness in technology. The important theories of openness, from the respective proposals of open industrial machines by Gérard-Joseph Christian and Karl Marx, to Umberto Eco’s critique of open art and Gilbert Simondon’s philosophy of open technology, are in agreement that (i) openness is the condition for realizing the potentiality for transcending the existing aesthetic, technical, or social structure, and (ii) that the realization of potentiality would diminish the reification of the human milieu. The therapeutic effect of emotional coupling with social robots seems to fulfill this ideal of open technology, whereas category confusion seems to increase rather than diminish reification. If people confuse the robot with the human, they risk losing sight of the unpredictability of other human beings that is essential to human development. This paper concludes that it is possible to avoid category confusion by building social robots without giving them a human-like appearance.
54. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 3
Arto Laitinen, Marketta Niemelä, Jari Pirhonen Demands of Dignity in Robotic Care: Recognizing Vulnerability, Agency, and Subjectivity in Robot-based, Robot-assisted, and Teleoperated Elderly Care
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Having a sense of dignity is one of the core emotions in human life. Is our dignity, and accordingly also our sense of dignity under threat in elderly care, especially in robotic care? How can robotic care support or challenge human dignity in elderly care? The answer will depend on whether it is robot-based, robot-assisted, or teleoperated care that is at stake. Further, the demands and realizations of human dignity have to be distinguished. The demands to respect humans are based on human dignity and the inalienable high and equal moral standing that everyone has. For human moral agents, these demands take the form of negative and positive duties. For robots, they arguably take the form of corresponding ought-to-be norms. The realizations of dignity consist in variable responses to these demands, by oneself by others, and by society at large. This article examines how robot-based, robot-assisted, and teleoperated care can amount to realizations of dignity. The varieties of robotic care can, in different ways, be responsive to the demands of dignity and recognize humans as vulnerable beings with needs, as autonomous agents, and as rational subjects of experience, emotion, and thought.
55. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 3
Sven Nyholm, Lily Eva Frank It Loves Me, It Loves Me Not: Is It Morally Problematic to Design Sex Robots that Appear to Love Their Owners?
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Drawing on insights from robotics, psychology, and human-computer interaction, developers of sex robots are currently aiming to create emotional bonds of attachment and even love between human users and their products. This is done by creating robots that can exhibit a range of facial expressions, that are made with human-like artificial skin, and that possess a rich vocabulary with many conversational possibilities. In light of the human tendency to anthropomorphize artefacts, we can expect that designers will have some success and that this will lead to the attribution of mental states to the robot that the robot does not actually have, as well as the inducement of significant emotional responses in the user. This raises the question of whether it might be ethically problematic to try to develop robots that appear to love their users. We discuss three possible ethical concerns about this aim: first, that designers may be taking advantage of users’ emotional vulnerability; second, that users may be deceived; and, third, that relationships with robots may block off the possibility of more meaningful relationships with other humans. We argue that developers should attend to the ethical constraints suggested by these concerns in their development of increasingly humanoid sex robots. We discuss two different ways in which they might do so.
56. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 3
Michał Klincewicz Robotic Nudges for Moral Improvement through Stoic Practice
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This article offers a theoretical framework that can be used to derive viable engineering strategies for the design and development of robots that can nudge people towards moral improvement. The framework relies on research in developmental psychology and insights from Stoic ethics. Stoicism recommends contemplative practices that over time help one develop dispositions to behave in ways that improve the functioning of mechanisms that are constitutive of moral cognition. Robots can nudge individuals towards these practices and can therefore help develop the dispositions to, for example, extend concern to others, avoid parochialism, etc.
articles
57. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Daniel Vella, Stefano Gualeni Virtual Subjectivity: Existence and Projectuality in Virtual Worlds
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This paper draws on the notion of the ‘project,’ as developed in the existential philosophy of Heidegger and Sartre, to articulate an understanding of the existential structure of engagement with virtual worlds. By this philosophical understanding, the individual’s orientation towards a project structures a mechanism of self-determination, meaning that the project is understood essentially as the project to make oneself into a certain kind of being. Drawing on existing research from an existential-philosophical perspective on subjectivity in digital game environments, the notion of a ‘virtual subjectivity’ is proposed to refer to the subjective sense of being-in-the-virtual-world. The paper proposes an understanding of virtual subjectivity as standing in a nested relation to the individual’s subjectivity in the actual world, and argues that it is this relation that allows virtual world experience to gain significance in the light of the individual’s projectual existence. The arguments advanced in this paper pave the way for a comprehensive understanding of the transformative, self-transformative, and therapeutic possibilities and advantages afforded by virtual worlds.
58. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Murray Skees Aporia and Wonder in the Age of Big Data
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My argument in this paper is given in two parts. In Part I, I review the ancient understanding of aporia, focusing on works by Plato and Aristotle. I illustrate two ways of understanding aporia: “cathartic” and “zetetic.” Cathartic aporia refers to the experience of being purged of hubris and ignorance through the dialectic. Zetetic aporia, on the other hand, requires us to engage in, recognize, and work through certain philosophical puzzles or problems. In Part II, I discuss the idea of Big Data and then argue that in the “age of answers” neither conception of aporia appears to be necessarily cultivated by the average Internet user. Our experience of wonder suffers when we rely so heavily on the Internet as a “surrogate expert,” and when our social media use betrays the fact that we always seem to gravitate towards the like-minded.
59. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Julia M. Hildebrand On Self-Driving Cars as a Technological Sublime
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Driverless automobility presents a “technological sublime” (Marx 1964; Nye 1994, 1997) encompassing both promises and perils. The light side of the emerging transportation future lies, for instance, in the newly gained freedom from driving. The dark side of this sublime includes ethical challenges and potential harm resulting from the required socio-technical transformations of mobility. This article explores contemporary visions for the self-driving car future through the lens of the sublime and some of its theoretical variations, such as the natural (Kant 1965), technological (Marx 1964; Nye 1994, 1997), electrical (Carey and Quirk 1989), and digital (Mosco 2005) sublime. Nissan’s IDS Concept preview clip (2015) and the Chevrolet FNR trailer (2015) serve as examples for this analysis, which aims to demythologize the visual rhetoric of the depicted awe-inspiring self-driving systems. The sublime’s inherent dialectic of inducing both pleasure and displeasure is removed in the corporate utopian visions in favor of an exalting partnership between human and machine. This strategy succeeds by setting the mobility future in the context of controlled parameters such as the trustworthy communicative vehicle, the vital and independent protagonists, and the harmless and unharmed environment. Recognizing such recurring strategies and identifying the controlled parameters which allow the sublime object to electrify, not terrify, is key for a sensible engagement with such imagined futures and their social, cultural, political, economic, environmental, and ethical implications. Such premediations (Grusin 2010) of awe-inspiring technological formations and the underlying logics ask to be unpacked toward decision making that considers all potential facets of the sublime future.
60. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Gonzalo Abad, Aritz Milikua, Igor Baraia-Etxaburu Electric Technology in Wind Turbines from a Dialectic Perspective
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Wind turbines have been used by many groups of humans for many centuries. Wind turbines have allowed groups of humans to perform many different tasks in the past (grinding grain, pumping water, etc.). However, only a century and a half ago, they began to be used to convert the energy captured from wind into electric energy. Moreover, only approximately twenty-five years ago, we started to introduce on a massive scale the energy generated from wind turbines into the electric networks of most developed countries in the world for regular consumption. According to 2017 statistics, approximately 12 percent of the electric energy consumed in the EU is produced by wind turbines. Despite the fact that wind turbines generally appear quite similar externally—i.e., a three-blade structure, a nacelle, a tower, etc.—if we carefully examine the electric technology used within them, we find quite a wide range of technologies for energy conversion, which is a key issue in wind turbine technology. Hence, this paper adopts a dialectic perspective towards analyzing and understanding why several electric technologies coexist in wind turbine technology. We explain the specific factors that have influenced different wind turbine manufacturers to adopt different electric technologies across the last twenty-five years. We show how their actions and the technological directions that have followed have been mutually codetermined, resulting in a technological evolution that has produced today’s wind turbine variety.