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21. 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.
22. 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.
23. 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.
24. 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.
25. 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.
26. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 3
Joshua M. Penrod Is It Really Only Real Friends Who Really Help You Move the Body?: Review of Friendship, Robots, and Social Media: False Friends and Second Selves, by Alexis M. Elder
27. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 3
Elise Li Zheng Redefining the Datafication of Selves: Review of Data Selves: More-than-Human Perspectives, by Deborah Lupton
28. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 3
Ethan Hallerman Interface Formats of the Self: On Colin Koopman’s Theory of Infopower: Review of How We Became Our Data: A Genealogy of the Informational Person, by Colin Koopman
29. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 3
Bonnie Sheehey Ethics Beyond Transparency: Resisting the Racial Injustice of Predictive Policing
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This paper responds to recent work highlighting the problematic racial politics of predictive policing technologies. Drawing on Michel Foucault’s account of ethics as counter-conduct, I develop a set of ethical techniques for resisting the racial injustice at work in predictive policing. This framework has the advantage, I argue, of not reducing the ethical issues of predictive policing solely to epistemic concerns of transparency. What I suggest is that we think about the ethics of technology less as an epistemic problem than as a problem for action or practice. By thinking of ethics in terms of resistant practices, we can begin to consider a notion of responsibility that holds us and the technologies we bind ourselves to accountable for the harms created by this bond.
30. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 3
Bas de Boer, Jonne Hoek The Advance of Technoscience and the Problem of Death Determination: A Promethean Puzzle
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Death determination has long been a topic of intensive technoscientific and medical involvement. Due to advances in twentieth-century medical technology, the distinction between life and death has become less evident. Ambiguities appear when we start to use life-support technologies in order to save lives, bringing about “tragic artifacts” such as brain death and persistent vegetative state. In this paper we ask how this technoscientific and medical involvement shapes our understanding of death. We provide an overview of medical literature that has appeared on (brain) death determination, highlighting thereby the role that technologies played in its establishment. Subsequently, we develop three philosophical interpretations of technological death determination: With Agamben and Marcuse as the installation of political power; with Don Ihde as an existential choice for the inevitable; and with Jacques Derrida as an encounter with the ineradicable mystery of death. To conclude, we argue that technological death determination reveals an intrinsic, paradoxical connection between human’s technicity and its ignorance of death.
31. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 3
Billy Wheeler Reliabilism and the Testimony of Robots
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We are becoming increasingly dependent on robots and other forms of artificial intelligence for our beliefs. But how should the knowledge gained from the “say-so” of a robot be classified? Should it be understood as testimonial knowledge, similar to knowledge gained in conversation with another person? Or should it be understood as a form of instrument-based knowledge, such as that gained from a calculator or a sundial? There is more at stake here than terminology, for how we treat objects as sources of knowledge often has important social and legal consequences. In this paper, I argue that at least some robots are capable of testimony. I make my argument by exploring the differences between instruments and testifiers on a well-known account of knowledge: reliabilism. On this approach, I claim that the difference between instruments and testifiers as sources of knowledge is that only the latter are capable of deception. As some robots can be designed to deceive, so they too should be recognized as testimonial sources of knowledge.
32. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 3
Ryan Wittingslow Effing the Ineffable: The Sublime in Postphenomenology
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Motivating this article is an interest in how postphenomenological technical relations participate in aesthetic experiences. Introducing aesthetic experience into our analyses of technical relations allows us to better tease apart the distinction between our relationship with the artefact, and how we experience that relationship. However, the sublime poses a unique set of complications for postphenomenologists. Thanks to the overwhelming qualities of the sublime, it is unclear where sublimity fits within the Ihdean relational taxonomy—or indeed, if it can at all, given that sublime experience would in principle overwhelm and dissolve the extant relation. This article resolves this apparent tension, and offers an accounts of how sublime experience is able to be reconciled with Ihdean postphenomenology.
33. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 3
Shachar Freddy Kislev Six Hegelian Theses about Technology
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Hegel has long been considered a major thinker of progress. This paper extends Hegel’s philosophy of progress into an outline of a philosophy of technology. It does this not by directly reading the little Hegel wrote on the subject, but by introducing six central Hegelian ideas that bear on the technological thought. It argues that, for Hegel, (1) mankind is destined to change its destiny; (2) that true change involved qualitative change; (3) that true change is conceptual, and not material, change; (4) that history progresses immanently according to its own laws; (5) that history progresses towards ever greater artificiality; and that (6) artificiality is closely linked to freedom. These ideas cohere into a Hegelian metaphysics of technology, which is supportive of the technological enterprise. This paper is meant both to sketch a metaphysical understanding of the technological enterprise, and to trace the intellectual roots of contemporary technological utopianism.
34. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 3
Dario Rodighiero, Alberto Romele The Hermeneutic Circle of Data Visualization: The Case Study of the Affinity Map
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In this article, we show how postphenomenology can be used to analyze the Affinity Map: a data visualization that reveals the hidden dynamics that exist between individuals within large organizations. We make use of the Affinity Map to expand the classic postphenomenology that privileges a ‘linear’ understanding of technological mediations and introduce the notions of ‘iterativity’ and ‘collectivity.’ In the first section of the paper, we discuss both classic and more recent descriptions of human-technology-world relations in order to transcendentally approach the discipline of data visualization. In the second section, we use the Affinity Map case study to consider three elements: 1) the collection of data and the design process; 2) the visual grammar of the data visualization, and 3) the process of self-recognition for the map ‘reader.’ In the third section, we introduce the hermeneutic circle of data visualization. Finally, we suggest that the Affinity Map, because of its ethical and political multistability, might be seen as a material encounter between postphenomenology, actor-network theory (ANT), and hermeneutics.
35. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Paul T. Durbin Chapter 19: Dutch Schools
36. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Paul T. Durbin Chapter 17: The Last Hoorah for Philosophy and Technology
37. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Sheldon Krimsky Chapter 22: Philosophy of Biotechnology
38. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Larry Hickman, Andrew Light Chapter 24: Philosophy and “Quotidian” Technologies such as Films
39. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Paul T. Durbin An Introductory Essay: A Framework for Understanding Philosophical Controversies
40. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Langdon Winner Chapter 11: A Non-Marxist Radical Critique