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Displaying: 61-80 of 465 documents

61. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Yu-cheng Liu A Techno-Philosophical Perspective on How Acceleration Becomes Autopoietic: Simplification as a Function of Technology
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This study examines mainly two subjects: “Why do we accelerate?” and “How does acceleration become autopoietic?” The answers to these questions may be derived from technical, social, or psychological approaches. However, they provide only an incomplete picture if a perspective from the philosophy of technology is not considered alongside. In addition to offering different viewpoints on the essence of technology, technics, or technē, this study will focus on the notion of distance as a key to answering the above questions. Conventionally, people usually understand that technology distances humans from nature. However, what does that mean? First of all, the idea of “nature” considered in this research refers to a distinction of non-nature/nature. A distinction implies a distance between both sides. Technology belongs to the side of non-nature, and creates a distance with the other side. The distance is getting enlarged when humans depend heavily on technology to reconnect humans to nature. In shortening or overcoming the distance, acceleration becomes autopoietic and leads to a paradox that can be unfolded only through accelerating more. In this study, technology is considered as a system functioning as simplification to create and to overcome alternately a distance with its environment, including nature. Through which technology not only acquires a tendency of acceleration, but also self-produces it. The development of writing tools from knots to tactile technology is investigated to provide a better understanding of the phenomenon of acceleration and its impact on humans and the world. In the end, it may be possible to think of a general theory of how acceleration becomes autopoietic.
62. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Sadjad Soltanzadeh A Practically Useful Metaphysics of Technology
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In the past couple of decades, there has been a tendency to identify the study of artefacts as one of the central subject matters of philosophy of technology. This subject identification relies on a metaphysical distinction between artefacts and non-artefacts, and is supported by the premise that artefacts are philosophically significant in ways that non-artefacts are not. Here it is argued that if we want philosophy of technology to be practically useful, the artefact/non-artefact distinction is a misleading place to start, as this distinction is developed through a metaphysical approach which is of little use for practical decisions and evaluations. Instead, we need to adopt a different metaphysical approach which is practically useful. This alternative approach is called activity realism, as opposed to entity realism in light of which artefacts are defined. Activity realism provides a metaphysical foundation for a practically useful philosophy of technology.
book review
63. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Lantz Fleming Miller A Way Out of Techno-limbo
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64. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Joni Turville From “You’ve Got Mail” to Email Overload: A Postphenomenological Genealogy of Email
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Using a postphenomenological approach, this article follows the history of email from its first development by and for the scientific community, through its commercialization, and into its modern-day integration with mobile devices. Five historical variations are identified: emergence, propagation, habituation and commercialization, supersaturation, and evanescence. Finally, I propose a model that describes not only the evolution of email, but potentially other digital communications tools. Studying the history of a technology can provide insight into both its past and contemporary applications, and may prompt more thoughtful use.
65. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Mo Abolkheir If You Wish to Invent Then Follow the Half-Causation Method
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The Half-Causation Method is a metaphysical-epistemic model for developing industrialised technological inventions. It consists of five phases of reasoning through which methodological success is achieved. The Method is named after its first phase, which consists of a methodological idealisation of the causal process, by pinpointing half of a possible causal relation while ignoring everything else. Following this, the Method prescribes how the reasoning should proceed, which ultimately constructs a complete and novel causal process. Each phase terminates with an epistemic justification which the inventor (or inventors) can share with other knowers and have them deliberated and scrutinised. As such, the entire process of developing industrialised technological inventions, including the early stages which are traditionally regarded as mysterious can be understood as a sequence of epistemic justifications. In this paper, the Half-Causation Method is presented as a detailed practical prescription for future projects which aim to develop industrialised technological inventions. Throughout the paper two case studies from the recent history of technology are used as exemplars, namely: the invention of the microwave oven and the invention of the centrifugal vacuum cleaner. First, a definition of the ‘technological invention’ is proposed. Following that, the prescription is presented as fifteen methodological instructions: three instructions that repeat at each phase. The prescription is supplemented by a set-theoretic diagram. Although this is a philosophy paper, it is spoken directly to the scientists and engineers who aim to direct part of their research towards the development of inventions.
66. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Jonathan Simon The Medical Drug as a Technological Object
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This article considers the medical drug as a technological object, in order to determine what philosophy of technology can bring to the study of pharmaceuticals and what the study of medical drugs can bring to the philosophy of technology. This approach will allow us to locate the differences between the medical drug and other objects that usually form the focus for studies in the philosophy of technology, and to discuss the problematic fit of the models proposed in the field to pharmaceuticals. After reflecting on the origins of this problem in both the philosophy of pharmacy and the philosophy of technology, I propose an examination of medical drugs using an analytical schema developed by Andrew Feenberg. I expose several shortcomings of this ‘post-phenomenological’ philosophy of technology applied to medical drugs. Despite the various problems identified, I nevertheless argue that the philosophy of technology is useful for thinking about medical drugs, particularly because of the emphasis it places on the social and political dimensions of technology. In conclusion, I argue in favour of a more open, eclectic philosophical engagement with medical drugs that puts more emphasis on their economic, social and political dimensions.
67. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Ashwin Jayanti Instrumental Realisms and their Ontological Commitments
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This paper shall concern itself with two variants of instrumental realism that have developed independently of each other and have made a mark on contemporary philosophies of science as well as of technology in their own respective ways. One is that of Don Ihde, the progenitor of the postphenomenological approach to technoscience, and the other that of Davis Baird, who emphasizes the epistemic centrality of instruments as bearers of knowledge in themselves. I shall juxtapose Ihde’s instrumental realism with the instrumental realism of Baird, both of whom emphasize the importance of experimentation and instrumentation to any comprehensive philosophy of science. Whereas Ihde wants to extend hermeneutics to science praxis, Baird wants to maintain an epistemological commitment to what he calls ‘thing knowledge.’ In comparing and contrasting these two variants of instrumental realism, I shall discern the implicit ontological and epistemological claims that underlie the two realisms in the background of scientific realism and critically evaluate their contributions to a more comprehensive understanding of science, technology, and the relation between the two.
68. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Trine Antonsen, Erik Lundestad Borgmann and the Non-Neutrality of Technology
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The paper focuses on Albert Borgmann’s philosophy of technology. We argue in support of Borgmann’s “Churchill principle” (“we shape our buildings, and afterwards they shape us”) as presented in Real American Ethics (RAE) (2006) by comparing it to findings within behavioral economics in general and to the “libertarian paternalism” of Cass R. Sunstein and Richard H. Thaler in particular. According to our interpretation of it, the Churchill principle implies that because our material environment in fact influences our choices, this environment can and should be rearranged so that we “automatically” will tend to make better decisions. Having defended the Churchill principle, we go on to discuss how this principle is related to Borgmann’s approach in Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life (TCCL) (1984). In this earlier work, Borgmann suggests we reform technology by making room for focal practices, that is, meaningful practices in which we develop our skills and excellences. We argue that while these two works have different basic approaches—rearranging the material environment in RAE and developing certain skills and excellences in TCCL—they can and ought to be seen, not as mutually excluding, but as supplementing one another. Together they form a highly salient critique of technology that takes into consideration questions of the good life without becoming overly paternalistic.
book reviews
69. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Steven Umbrello Moving to a Posthuman Technosphere
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70. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
David B. Levy Trevor Pinch’s Social Construction of Science and Technology Revisited
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71. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 22 > Issue: 3
Mark Coeckelbergh, Michael Funk, Stefan Koller Wittgenstein and Philosophy of Technology: Introduction
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performing political technologies
72. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 22 > Issue: 3
Langdon Winner Technological Investigations: Wittgenstein’s Liberating Presence
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Although Ludwig Wittgenstein did not offer a fully developed philosophy of technology, his writings contain an approach to inquiry that can be employed to explore situations in which people contend with technological devices and systems. His notions of ‘language games’ and ‘forms of life’ as well as the dramatic, imaginary dialogues in his later writings offer ways to transcend the sometimes rigid theoretical frameworks in contemporary technology studies. Especially as applied to rapidly moving infusions of computing and digital electronics in contemporary society, Wittgenstein’s writings offer possibilities for fresh insight and even some practical alternatives.
73. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 22 > Issue: 3
Eric B. Litwack Wittgensteinian Humanism, Democracy, and Technocracy
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In this article, the author explores some possible applications of Wittgenstein’s humanistic psychology, epistemology and philosophy of culture for the philosophy of technology, and more particularly, for the question of valuing a possible future technocracy over contemporary democratic systems. Major aspects of the article involve a discussion of some of Wittgenstein’s key views on certainty, cultural relativism, the problem of other minds, and gradual socio-cultural change. In order to examine these problems, the author draws from both a wide range of Wittgenstein’s works, as well as secondary sources in Wittgenstein studies. An analogy is made between socio-cultural change over time and gradual visual loss. The author has incorporated important elements of Wittgenstein’s biography, both as a philosopher and as an engineer and architect, underlining the profound link between his life and thought.
performing methodical technologies
74. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 22 > Issue: 3
Alfred Nordmann A Feeling for the Work as a Limited Whole: Wittgenstein on the Problems of Philosophy and the Problem of Technology
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This is a paper, on the face of it, about Wittgenstein’s Tractatus and its contribution to the philosophy of technology. As such, it advances a three-fold claim: Especially the early Wittgenstein was not a philosopher of technology. Though he does not recognize philosophical problems of technology—for example, of engineering knowledge—he is keenly aware of the limits of philosophy. Thus, he inadvertently opens up a perspective for the philosophy of technology, after all. By drawing out the implications of this perspective for a conception of ‘working knowledge’ and thus of working orders of things, this paper ends up promoting a research program for the philosophy of technology.
75. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 22 > Issue: 3
Michael Funk Repeatability and Methodical Actions in Uncertain Situations: Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Technology and Language
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In this paper Ludwig Wittgenstein is interpreted as a philosopher of language and technology. Due to current developments, a special focus is on lifeworld practice and technoscientific research. In particular, image-interpretation is used as a concrete methodical example. Whereas in most science- or technology-related Wittgenstein interpretations the focus is on the Tractatus, the Investigations or On Certainty, in this paper the primary source is his very late triune fragment Bemerkungen über die Farben (“Remarks about the Colours”). It is argued that Wittgenstein’s approach can supplement Don Ihde’s concept of material hermeneutics, and that Wittgenstein’s constructivist and pragmatist claims relate to current authors in the philosophy of technology like Peter Janich, Carl Mitcham or Jürgen Mittelstraß. Ludwig Wittgenstein enables a philosophical approach of transcendental grammars, techno-linguistic forms of life and technoscientific language games. In detail, several methodological aspects regarding relations between language and technology are summarized. Here concretely repeatability and methodical actions play major roles in uncertain situations of language and technology practice. It is shown that Wittgenstein is still underestimated in the philosophy of technology—although his thoughtful conceptualizations of language, social practice and technology bear important methodical insights for current technosciences like synthetic biology, robotics and many others.
performing social technologies
76. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 22 > Issue: 3
Mark Thomas Young Artifacts as Rules: Wittgenstein and the Sociology of Technology
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My goal in this article is to explore the extent to which the conception of rule-following which emerges from Wittgenstein’s later works can also yield important insights concerning the nature of technological practices. In particular, this article aims to examine how two interrelated themes of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations can be applied in the philosophical analysis of technology. Our first theme concerns linguistic practice; broadly construed, it is the claim that the use of language cannot be understood as determined by a system of context independent rules. The second, interrelated theme emerges as a consequence of the first; that the meaning of language is rendered indeterminate when analyzed in isolation from contexts of practice. Following the common tendency in the sociology of technology to draw analogies between language and technology, I aim to show how the arguments that Wittgenstein makes for these two claims concerning language can also help us to understand the relation between technical artifacts and technological practices. For, similar to Wittgenstein’s account of rules, it will be shown how artifacts cannot be adequately understood in isolation from a wider background of skillful practice and interpretation. To illustrate this idea, we will examine the case of the Geiger counter, with a view towards illustrating how important aspects of the function of the device are rendered indeterminate when assessed on the basis of physical design alone.
77. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 22 > Issue: 3
Michał Piekarski, Witold Wachowski Artefacts as Social Things: Design-Based Approach to Normativity
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In these reflections, we want to prove a thesis whereby normativity of rules and norms may be linked to the domain of artefacts which we understand as social things. We claim that some norms and rules are situated in human socio-material ecosystems especially when it comes to the role played by affordances. The thesis advanced in this article will also enable us to indicate one of the potential interpretations of Wittgenstein’s ‘forms of life’ concept, demonstrating that some solutions suggested by the author of Philosophical Investigations are still relevant today. We will relate the issue of the normativity of artefacts to the problem of rule recognition which Wittgenstein also raises in some of his later studies. We will demonstrate that the problem of normativity recognition is linked to (1) relational properties of objects, that is affordances; (2) structured nature of the world of human communities; and (3) the ability to recognise affordances related to the ability to create predictions about future states of affairs. The analyses presented herein will show that it is possible to link the perspectives of cognitive ecology, design practice and philosophical analyses focused on the problem of normativity.
performing cognitive technologies
78. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 22 > Issue: 3
Christoph Durt From Calculus to Language Game: The Challenge of Cognitive Technology
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Cognitive technology is an increasingly important form of technology that can deal with meaning by either replicating or simulating human cognition. Cognitive technology can make use of information technology, but it strives to go beyond mere information processing by recognizing, changing, and creating meaning. This presents us with a two-sided challenge: On the one hand, cognitive technology is challenged to ‘understand’ meaning in ordinary language. And on the other, it challenges us to rethink fundamental questions of human cognition and sense-making. Both challenges demand a better understanding of the difference between the technical transformation of symbols and the understanding of meaning in the ordinary sense. After explaining the topic in relation to both the insights and the limitations of the reflections by Turing, Searle, and Heidegger, this paper primarily builds on Wittgenstein’s contributions to a better understanding of the difference between two conceptions of meaning and their implications for technical replication and simulation. The paper shows that Wittgenstein developed his early calculus account of meaning into that of language games and that language games not only come in many different varieties, but are also much more flexible than calculi. Of particular interest will be the difference between rigid and creative rule-following. Creative rule-following involves an intricate interplay of very different bodily, mental, and cultural constituents, so that its simulation is not merely a technical problem but also requires clarification of a number of profound philosophical questions. It will become clear that the challenge of cognitive technology shows up at unexpected places and that is much bigger than usually assumed.
79. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 22 > Issue: 3
Thomas Raleigh Wittgenstein’s Remarks on Technology and Mental Mechanisms
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This article provides a survey of Wittgenstein’s remarks in which he discusses various kinds of technology. I argue that throughout his career, his use of technological examples displays a thematic unity: technologies are invoked in order to illustrate a certain mechanical conception of the mind. I trace how his use of such examples evolved as his views on the mind and on meaning changed. I also discuss an important and somewhat radical anti-mechanistic strain in his later thought and suggest that Wittgenstein’s attitude to mechanistic explanations in psychology was ultimately quite ambivalent.
80. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 22 > Issue: 2
Nolen Gertz Hegel, the Struggle for Recognition, and Robots
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While the mediational theories of Don Ihde and Peter-Paul Verbeek have helped to uncover the role that technologies play in ethical life, the role that technologies play in political life has received far less attention. In order to fill in this gap, I turn to the mediational theory of Hegel. Hegel shows how understanding the mediated nature of experience is vital to understanding the development of political life. Through examples found in the military, in particular concerning the relationship between explosive ordnance detonation (EOD) soldiers and robots, I illustrate how Hegel’s analysis of the “struggle for recognition” can be used to understand human-technology relations from a political perspective. This political perspective can consequently help us to appreciate how technologies come to have a role in political life through our ability to experience solidarity with technology. Solidarity is experienced by users due to the recognition of technologies as serving roles in society that I describe as functionally equivalent to the social roles of the user. The realization of this functional equivalence allows users to learn how they are perceived and respected by society through the experience of how functionally equivalent technologies are perceived and respected. I conclude by focusing on the importance of understanding functional equivalence in design, as well as in the case of the Dallas Police Department having turned an EOD robot from a life-saving to a life-taking device. These examples show why Hegel is necessary for helping us to understand the political significance of recognizing and of misrecognizing technologies.