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161. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Thomas W. Staley The Coding of Technical Images of Nanospace: Analogy, Disanalogy, and the Asymmetry of Worlds
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This paper argues that intrinsically metaphorical leaps are required to interpret and utilize information acquired at the atomic scale. Accordingly, what we ‘see’ with our instruments in nanospace is both fundamentally like, and fundamentally unlike, nanospace itself; it involves both direct translation and also what Goodman termed “calculated category mistakes.” Similarly, and again necessarily, what we ‘do’ in nanospace can be treated as only metaphorically akin to what we do in our comfortable mesoworld. These conclusions indicate that future developments in nanotechnology will rely, in part, on the creation of more sophisticated metaphorical codes linking our world to nanospace, and I propose some initial possibilities along these lines.
162. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Val Dusek Ihde’s Instrumental Realism and the Marxist Account of Technology in Experimental Science
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Edgar Zilsel offers a Marxist account of the rise of experimental science avoiding both crude determinism and the anti-scientific bias of much “Western Marxism.” This account supplements Don Ihde’s instrumental realism with a social account of the systematic extension of perception by instrumentation. The social contact of non-literate craftspeople with purely intellectual scholars forged the social basis of what became technoscience.
163. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Larry A. Hickman Postphenomenology and Pragmatism: Closer Than You Might Think?
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In this commentary on Evan Selinger’s book Postphenomenology: A Critical Companion to Ihde, I begin with Carl Mitcham’s claim that with respect to Don Ihde’s “postphenomenology” there are “challenges both to and from pragmatism.” I discuss four points on which postphenomenology and pragmatism seem to be in agreement, and then two points on which I believe pragmatism offers a program that socially thicker.
164. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Evan Selinger Introduction to Postphenomenology Discussion
165. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Don Ihde The Corpus is Not Yet Closed....
166. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Evan Selinger Normative Judgment and Technoscience: Nudging Ihde, Again
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This essay interrogates the relation between descriptive and prescriptive elements in Don Ihde’s philosophy of technology. I argue that while Ihde’s philosophy contributes more to normative inquiry than is often acknowledged, it may be insufficient for addressing core issues concerning cosmopolitanism, ecological catastrophe, and animal rights.
167. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Dennis M. Weiss Human—Technology—World
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This essay examines Don Ihde’s postphenomological philosophy of technology through the lens of philosophical anthropology, that sub-discipline of philosophy concerned with the nature and place of the human being. While Ihde’s philosophical corpus and its reception in Postphenomenology: A Critical Companion to Ihde indicate rich resources for thinking about human nature, several themes receive too little attention in both, including the nature of the human being, the emergence of the posthuman, and the place of the human being in our contemporary pluriculture.
168. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 3
Christopher P. Toumey Reading Feynman Into Nanotechnology: A Text for a New Science
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As histories of nanotechnology are created, one question arises repeatedly: how influential was Richard Feynman’s 1959 talk, “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom”? It is often said by knowledgeable people that this talk was the origin of nanotech. It preceded events like the invention of the scanning tunneling microscope, but did it inspire scientists to do things they would not have done otherwise? Did Feynman’s paper directly influence important scientific developments in nanotechnology? Or is his paper being retroactively read into the history of nanotechnology? To explore those questions, I trace the history of “Plenty of Room,” including its publication and republication, its record of citations in scientific literature, and the comments of eight luminaries of nanotechnology. This biography of a text and its life among other texts enables us to articulate Feynman’s paper with the history of nanotechnology in new ways as it explores how Feynman’s paper is read.
169. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 3
Mireille Hildebrandt Legal and Technological Normativity: more (and less) than twin sisters
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Within science technology and society studies the focus has long been on descriptive microanalyses. Several authors have raised the issue of the normative implications of the findings of research into socio-technical devices and infrastructures, while some claim that material artifacts have moral significance or should even be regarded as moral actors. In this contribution the normative impact of technologies is investigated and compared with the normative impact of legal norms, arguing that a generic concept of normativity is needed that does not depend on the intention of whoever designed either a law or a technology. Furthermore this contribution develops the idea that modern law, which has been mediated by the technologies of the script and the printing press, may need to rearticulate its basic tenets into emerging technologies in order to sustain what has been called the paradox of the 'Rechtsstaat'.
170. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 3
Jim Gerrie Three Species of Technological Dependency
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One can find from a survey of the work of three prominent philosophers of technology in the late twentieth century, a very different kind of metaphor for describing the powerful, but not fully determinative influence that technology has on our lives. These three theories each centre on a concept I call "technological dependency." The most prominent exponents of technological dependency are Marshall McLuhan, Herbert Marcuse and Jacques Ellul. Although there are similarities between their descriptions of the phenomenon of dependency, their discussions of this phenomenon are focused around very different sub-metaphors for describing the nature of the dependency. McLuhan portrays our relationship with technology as capable of becoming a form of addiction or habit, Marcuse portrays it as a form of bribery, and Jacques Ellul portrays it as a form of religious cultism.
171. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Katrina Burt The Internet – Proposing an Infrastructure for the Philosophy of Virtualness
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This paper proposes a preliminary infrastructure for future philosophical discourse on the virtual, interactive, visual, top layer of the Internet. The paper begins by introducing thoughts on such words as real, virtual, reality, knowledge, and truth. Next, news summaries are provided illustrating some effects from the “real world” on the virtual part of the Internet, and vice versa. Subsequently, nine major categories of Internet variables are identified. Finally, over one hundred questions about the philosophical nature of the virtual part of the Internet are listed and are organized into fourteen categories.
172. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Viktor Binzberger Hermeneutic practices in software development: the case of Ada and Python
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This paper shows the relevance of hermeneutic philosophy to understand how info­communication technologies frame our contemporary lifeworld. It demonstrates that the programming languages are the result of collective interpretations of the general lifeworld of programmers, management and political decision-makers. By having been inscribed into the processes of language use, this general interpretation permeates the particular practices of understanding that are possible within the language framework.
173. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Ejvind Hansen Communicative In-Betweens of Email Communication
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In this paper I seek to deconstruct internet-based communication. I highlight Derrida’s focus on the margins and in-betweens of communication, and relate it to the genre of e-mail. I argue (i) that the silence between the dialogic turns becomes more marked, while (ii) the separation of present and previous statements becomes less marked. The visibility of the silence between the turns (i) can be a resource for increased awareness of how communicative exchanges are shaped by self­arrangements and -presentations. The dissolution of the separation between present and previous statements (ii) can be a source for unfruitful quarrels.
174. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Vincent Bontems Gilbert Simondon’s genetic “mecanology”and the understanding of laws of technical evolution
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Since the 1930’s, several attempts have been made to develop a general theory of technical systems or objects and their evolution: in France, Jacques Lafitte, André Leroi-Gourhan, Bertrand Gille, Yves Deforge, and Gilbert Simondon are the main representatives of this trend. In this paper, we focus on the work of Simondon: his analysis of technical progress is based on the hypothesis that technology has its own laws and that customer demand has no paramount influence upon the evolution of technical systems. We first describe the process Simondon called “concretization” and compare it with the process of “idealization” as defined by Genrich Altshuller. We then explain how the progress of technical lineages can be characterized as following a specific rhythm of relaxation and how it thus obeys a “law” of evolution in the industrial context. Simondon’s theoretical approach, although similar to some aspects of methodologies of conception, emphasized a more accurate understanding of technical progress over possible operational applications. Simondon never intended to optimize the engineer’s tasks from an economic point of view and, in fact, his conception of technical progress can be considered as independent from the capitalistic trend of innovation. However, the philosophy of Simondon provides a better understanding of what is at stake theoretically in the modeling of laws of technical evolution.
175. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Lynne Rudder Baker The Metaphysics of Malfunction
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Any artefact – a hammer, a telescope, an artificial hip – may malfunction. Conceptually speaking, artefacts have an inherent normative aspect. I argue that the normativity of artefacts should be understood as part of reality, and not just “in our concepts.” I first set out Deflationary Views of artefacts, according to which there are no artefactual properties, just artefactual concepts. According to my contrasting view – the Constitution View – there are artefactual properties that things in the world really have. For example, there is a property of being a telephone per se; we apply our concept telephone to things that have that property. Things that have the property of being a telephone are constituted by, but not identical to, aggregates of particles. To be an artefact, an object must have an intended function, among other things. Telephones – in virtue of being the kind of objects that they are – are always subject to malfunction. And malfunctions, when they occur, are just as much part of the world as telephones are. The example of artefacts shows that what is in the world – what really exists – need not be “mind-independent” nor independent of our concepts.
176. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Marzia Soavi Antirealism and Artefact Kinds
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Many realists on kinds deem it highly controversial to consider artefact kinds real kinds on a par with natural ones. There is a built-in tendency in realism to conceive of artefact kinds as merely a conventional classification used for practical purposes. One can individuate three main different approaches characterizing real kinds and accordingly three different types of arguments against viewing artefact kinds as real kinds: the metaphysical, the epistemological and the semantic arguments. The aim of this contribution is to undermine the thesis that it is possible to trace a clear distinction between artefacts and natural kinds in each of these approaches. As a consequence there are no metaphysical, epistemological and semantic bases for claiming that artefact kinds as opposed to natural ones are not real kinds.
177. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Pawel Garbacz What is an Artefact Design?
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The paper contains a first order formal theory pertaining to artefact designs, designs which are construed as the results of designing activities. The theory is based on a minimal ontology of states of affairs and it is inspired by the ideas of the Polish philosopher Roman Ingarden. After differentiating the philosophical notion of design from the engineering notion of design specifications, I then go on to argue that the philosophical category of artefact designs may be compared with Ingarden’s category of intentional states of affairs. At least some artefacts are found to be determined by more than one design. I also show how this ontological framework allows for the distinction between artefact tokens and artefact types. That leads to a proposal on how to define a criterion of identity for artefact types. The proposed theory serves as a basis both for a better understanding of what artefacts are and for the construction of computer-readable models of design specifications.
178. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Ulrich Krohs Structure and Coherence of Two-Model-Descriptions of Technical Artefacts
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A technical artefact is often described in two ways: by means of a physicalistic model of its structure and dynamics, and by a functional account of the contributions of the components of the artefact to its capacities. These models do not compete, as different models of the same phenomenon in physics usually do; they supplement each other and cohere. Coherence is shown to be the result of a mapping of role-contributions on physicalistic relations that is brought about by the concept of function. It results a sandwich-like structure of the two models, which can be reconstructed as a two-sorted theory element.
179. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Massimiliano Carrara Relative Identity and the Number of Artifacts
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Relativists maintain that identity is always relative to a general term (RI). According to them, the notion of absolute identity has to be abandoned and replaced by a multiplicity of relative identity relations for which Leibniz’s Law does not hold. For relativists RI is at least as good as the Fregean cardinality thesis (FC), which contends that an ascription of cardinality is always relative to a concept specifying what, in any specific case, counts as a unit. The same train of thought on cardinality and identity is apparent among those – Artifactualists – who take relative identity sentences for artifacts as the norm. The aim of this paper is (i) to criticize the thesis (T1) thatfrom FC it is possible to derive RI, and (ii) to explain why Artifactualists mistakenly believe that RI can be derived from FC. The misunderstanding derives from their assumption that the concept of artifact – like the concept of object – is not a sortal concept.
180. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Wybo Houkes, Pieter E. Vermaas Artefacts in Analytic Metaphysics: Introduction