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1. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Eric Dietrich Cognitive Science and the Mechanistic Forces of Darkness, or Why the Computational Science of Mind Suffers the Slings and Arrowsof Outrageous Fortune
2. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Andrew Garnar Portable Civilizations and Urban Assault Vehicles
3. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Paul T. Durbin SPT at the End of a Quarter Century: What Have We Accomplished?
4. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Gene Moriarty The Place of Engineering and the Engineering of Place
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The role or place of engineering is to engineer place, a location of engaging life events. That is the case for focal engineering, which is distinguished from two other kinds of engineering: traditional engineering and modernist engineering. These three kinds of engineering are discussed in terms of ways of knowing appropriate to them: know-how for traditionalist engineering, knowhow/know- what for modernist engineering, and know-how/know- what/know-why for focalengineering. Various notions of place and space are relevant to the three kinds of engineering discussed. In traditional engineering, place and space are backgrounded. In modernist engineering, space begins to dominate, causing a disharmony in the place/space constellation. In focal engineering, place is stressed in order to re-harmonize the place/space constellation.
5. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Andy Crabtree, John A. Hughes, Jon O’Brien, Tom Rodden On the Social Organization of Space and the Design of Electronic Landscapes.
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This paper reports on-going work in the eSCAPE Project (Esprit Long Term Research Project 25377) directed to the research and development of electronic landscapes for public use. Our concern here is to elucidate a sociologically informed approach towards the design of electronic landscapes or virtual worlds. We suggest — and demonstrate through ethnographic studies of virtual technologies at a multimedia art museum and information technology trade show — that members sense of space is produced through social practices tied to the accomplishment of activities occurring within the locations their actions are situated. Space, in other words, is socially constructed and shaped through members’ practices for accomplishing situated activities. We explicate, by practical examples, an approach to discovering social practices in and through which a sense of space is constructed and outline how such understandings may be used to formulate requirements for the design of electronic landscapes. In explicating our ethnographically informed approach, we outline how future technologies may bedeveloped through the situated evaluation of experimental prototypes in public use.
6. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Joseph C. Pitt What Engineers Know
7. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Andrew Sabl False Frankensteins: The Costs and Illusions of Computer Mastery
8. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Peter Kroes Technical Functions as Dispositions: a Critical Assessment
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The paper argues that in order to understand the nature of technological knowledge (i.e., knowledge of technical artefacts as distinct from knowledge of natural objects) it is necessary to develop an epistemology of technical functions. This epistemology has to address the problem of the meaning of the notion of function. In the dominant interpretations, functions are considered to be dispositions, comparable to physical dispositions such as fragility and solubility. It is argued that this conception of functions is principally flawed. With the help of Carnap’s analysis of dispositional terms it is shown that there is a fundamental difference between physical dispositional terms and functional dispositional terms. This difference concerns the issue of the normativity; with regard to functional dispositions, it makes sense to construct normative statements of a particular kind, with regard to physical dispositions it does not.
9. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Jim Demmers, Dara O'Neil Leavers and Takers: Alternative Perspectives on Universal Access to Telecommunications Technologies
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As pervasive as the use of the Internet has become in the United States, a huge percentage of the world’s population has yet to ever use a telephone. It seems ironic, then, that there is a concerted effort on the part of industrialized nations to first hook up their traditionally disadvantaged citizens to the Internet and second, to hook up citizens of developing nations. This paper addresses the universal access phenomenon by considering the growth of the Internet in terms of Leaver and Taker users—idioms usually associated with a culture’s interactions with its environment. Leaver cultures interact with their environment in a sustainable manner while Taker cultures produce more than they need and impose their ways upon others. The Internet is explored as a community of users, which in its current state is dominated by Takers. However, realizing the need for a more heterogeneous Internet community, this paper explores incentives for Leaver cultures to assimilate online and methods of improving interface designs to be more intuitive to Leaver communities. It is hoped that a tragedy of the commons of Internet resources can be avoided as more Leavers participate in the sustainment of the Internet as a valuable tool for all communities.
10. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Walter G. Vincenti The Experimental Assessment of Engineering Theory As a Tool for Design
11. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Jack Simmons Educational Technology and Academic Freedom
12. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Lars Botin, Bas de Boer, Tom Børsen Technology In Between the Individual and the Political: Postphenomenology and Critical Constructivism
13. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Mithun Bantwal Rao Philosophy of Technology in the Anthropocene avant la lettre
14. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Kirk Besmer, Ashley Shew New Editors' Introduction: Philosophy of Technology after Forty-five Years / Techné at 25
15. 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.
16. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Bas de Boer Discovering Subjectivity in the Technosystem: Developing a Critical Position Towards Contingent Forms of Rationality
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Two of the main approaches of what is often referred to as the ‘empirical philosophy of technology’ are postphenomenology and critical constructivism. Critical constructivists charge postphenomenologists for paying too little attention to the fact that our society is co-constituted not only by technologies, but also by forms of rationality exercised on a political level. Postphenomenologists, then, charge critical constructivism for insufficiently recognizing that the way technologies are appropriated in the lifeworld often evades forms of institutionalized rationality. The goal of this paper is to show how these different approaches should not be juxtaposed, but can better be seen as complementary in the development of a political philosophy of technology. This will be made clear through a discussion of the role of STS in the work of Peter-Paul Verbeek, and in the work of Andrew Feenberg. I suggest that developing an ‘empirically informed’ political philosophy of technology requires to both recognize how technologies constitute particular forms of subjectivity and to understand the rational processes through which particular technologies are designed. When combining both of these insights, it becomes possible to articulate a normative position with regard to technological developments.
17. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Lars Botin Building Scaffolds: How Critical Constructivism and Postphenomenology Could Gather in Common Enterprise
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Critical Constructivism and postphenomenology are two possible ways of describing, analysing and evaluating the role and meaning of technology in contemporary society and world. Whereas Critical Constructivism looks at the way technologies are dealt with on a macro level considering systems and programs, then postphenomenology digs into the individual and personal appropriation and understanding of technology in everyday life. This means that there is a gap for what concerns levels, but also in relation to what they want to accomplish. The critical stance of Andrew Feenberg in conceiving societal and political problems as ripe for radical technological change is met by postphenomenology’s pragmatic focus on how to build appropriate and meaningful structures for handling of emergent and imminent problems together with and through technology. This paper tries to bridge this gap by introducing the concept of scaffolding, which is inspired by Heidegger’s “Gestell,” but re-read in a new and different way than the usual pessimistic and deterministic interpretation where exploitation and “enframing” is at hand. Scaffolding is read as a common enterprise where we stretch and reach out towards each other in order to create platforms for interventions and activism. The paper is an attempt to direct this common enterprise in specific directions, and this directedness is indicative for our aims and goals. It is the claim that Critical Constructivism and postphenomenology should meet, and perform a certain kind of Techno-Activism when confronted with problems in technological society.
18. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Andrew Feenberg Critical Constructivism, Postphenomenology and the Politics of Technology
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Critical constructivism adds a dimension of collective action to postphenomenology. This paper explains the intervention of collective subjects into technological design. That intervention presupposes communication between lay and expert actors which is made possible by the dependence of technical disciplines on the lifeworld. Understanding the public processes of intervention requires a notion of multiple types of rationality and a social account of technological design.
19. 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.
20. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Don Ihde Almost a Critical Theorist . . .
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This article starts with an autobiographical reflection in which I first trace how close I came to doing my Ph.D. studies with Herbert Marcuse when he was at Brandeis University; then follows my early post-Ph.D. work which continued to use critical theorists in teaching, later following a growing disillusionment with the implicit elitism of many critical theory authors. Then I turn to deeper philosophical reasons for my divergence from critical theory by introducing the notion of “shelf-life,” and argue that much Marxist and neo-Marxist work is today outdated, or has reached limits of its shelf-life.