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Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology

A Symposium on Don Ihde’s Husserl’s Missing Technologies

Volume 20, Issue 2, 2016
Ihde and Husserl

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Displaying: 1-9 of 9 documents

1. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Robert Rosenberger, Ihde and Husserl: A Symposium on Don Ihde's Husserl's Missing Technologies
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2. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Shannon Vallor, Ihde, Technoscience, and the Resilience of Phenomenology
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My review of Don Ihde’s new book, Husserl’s Missing Technologies begins by identifying a thematic link binding its chapters: specifically, the exploration of alternative histories for the trajectory of classical Husserlian phenomenology. Ihde’s book can be seen as a meditation on questions like the following: “What might phenomenology have been had Husserl paid more attention to the essential role of instrumentation and experiment in science, or to the mediating role of technologies in perception? What road might phenomenology have taken had Husserl traveled it in conversation with John Dewey, rather than the ghost of Descartes?” The book ably demonstrates how such alternative paths might have enriched philosophy, in ways that closely mirror Ihde’s own contributions to postphenomenological thought. In particular, Ihde exposes Husserl’s failure to grasp technoscience as an activity that does not only reduce materiality to mathematical formalisms, but produces new material forms and sensibilities. Yet I resist the book’s implied charge that Husserlian phenomenology is a moribund tradition that has largely exhausted its power. Instead, I argue that the progressive force and intrinsic elasticity of the phenomenological method endures in spite of the inevitable limits of Husserl’s philosophical imagination, allowing his assumptions and results (and ours) to be remade again and again in the light of the ‘things themselves.’ Moreover, the relevance of Husserl’s critique of reductive scientism has enduring relevance today; while modern science may be a practice far richer than Husserl understood, the science of our day is far from rich enough.
3. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Robert P. Crease, Missing Ihde
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This article investigates how lack of a phenomenology of technology has hurt understanding of the lifeworld.  One way, as Ihde has shown, involves a failure to appreciate the instrumental mediation of experience and the extension of perception.  But Ihde also fails to notice the background in which these mediations are taking place and which shapes the mediations themselves and our interpretation of them; not even the research of technoscientists takes place in a neutral atmosphere that does not affect how we work.  This article also discusses hermeneutic distortion, or the gap in collective interpretive resources that occurs when the technoscientific infrastructure withdraws and becomes all but invisible, encouraging the tendency to treat scientific conclusions as mere opinions, and technoscientific devices as accessory rather than integral to the modern world.
4. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Yoni Van Den Eede, Variations upon Ihde’s Husserl’s Missing Technologies
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In his new book, Husserl’s Missing Technologies, Don Ihde provides yet another, and highly enriching, iteration of postphenomenology. My comments here concern a couple of observations that he makes along the way with regard to the “scientific” status of philosophy and the question of whether philosophies, like technologies, have “use-lifes.” These remarks actually pierce through to the core of the postphenomenological theoretical corpus. In particular, there are consequences for the concept of multistability that need to be discussed: Are some stabilities better than others? In asking that question, which deserves the most emphasis: actuality or potentiality? And to what extent is there a continuity between “ideas” (i.e., theories) and technologies?
5. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Lenore Langsdorf, From Interrelational Ontology to Instrumental Ethics: Expanding Pragmatic Postphenomenology
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Current human/social science research supports Don Ihde’s postphenomenology. In particular, archeology and anthropology support Ihde’s instrumental realism, and history identifies the culture that nourished Platonic and Aristotelian separation of mentality and materiality. Deweyean pragmatism, beginning with his analysis of the reflex arc, supports both instrumental realism and an interrelational ontology that rejects the residual Cartesian dualism in Husserlian phenomenology. Ihde’s acknowledgment of the affinity between postphenomenology and Deweyean pragmatism enables expanding his prevalent epistemological and structural orientation to encompass a normative dimension. Peter-Paul Verbeek’s focus on the ethical dimension of how products are designed and how things interact with humans is an important expansion of pragmatic postphenomenology as well as an expansion of current research on the “4e’s” of cognition—embedded, embodied, enacted, and extended—to include a fifth: ethical.
6. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Eduardo Mendieta, Dispose After Expiration Date: On Don Ihde’s Husserl's Missing Technologies
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This article argues that there are three key claims of postphenomenology: first, that there is no immediate access to a phenomena that is not always already embodied; second, that there is no science that is not determined by a technology, and that technologies are instances of certain theoretical assumptions and perspectives; third, that all technoscience is enabled and mediated by the embodied perception that takes place in and through instrumentation, which leads to the insight that all scientific evidence is manufactured perception. There is critical engagement with Ihde’s take on pragmatism and it is argued that he makes too severe a distinction between embodied praxis and communicative action, between practices of embodiment and practices of communicating. The argument is that the technoscientific body is a communicative body. The article closes with the consideration of Ihde’s provocative thesis that we ought to think of philosophical systems as having expiration or obsolesce dates. The author recalls the important work of German-Jewish philosopher Günther Anders in order to think through the sense in which it is not so much our technologies that expire, but our ethical worldviews that are made discrepant and incommensurate with the challenges our technologies throw at us. It is argued that we have to make distinction between obsolesce, on the one hand, and error or failure, on the other.
7. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Daniel Susser, Ihde’s Missing Sciences: Postphenomenology, Big Data, and the Human Sciences
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In Husserl’s Missing Technologies, Don Ihde urges us to think deeply and critically about the ways in which the technologies utilized in contemporary science structure the way we perceive and understand the natural world. In this paper, I argue that we ought to extend Ihde’s analysis to consider how such technologies are changing the way we perceive and understand ourselves too. For it is not only the natural or “hard” sciences which are turning to advanced technologies for help in carrying out their work, but also the social and “human” sciences. One set of tools in particular is rapidly being adopted—the family of information technologies that fall under the umbrella of “big data.” As in the natural sciences, big data is giving researchers in the human sciences access to phenomena which they would otherwise be unable to experience and investigate. And like the former, the latter thereby shape the ways those scientists perceive and understand who and what we are. Looking at two case studies of big data-driven research in the human sciences, I begin in this paper to suggest how we might understand these phenomenological and hermeneutic changes.
8. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Robert Rosenberger, Husserl's Missing Multistability
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The notion of “multistability” is a central fixture of the postphenomenological framework of thought, one of the central ideas that enables this perspective to avoid both shallow determinism and instrumentalism. While this notion has been put to use in numerous case studies and theoretical treatments, here I argue that the work of following out the philosophical implications of technological multistability has only just begun. Don Ihde’s new book, Husserl’s Missing Technologies, provides a helpful jumping off point as he provides a leading-edge formulation of this idea. I continue with an attempt to sketch out the vast philosophical ground opened up by this concept, and review the contemporary work by postphenomenologists that is just starting to explore this new terrain.
9. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Don Ihde, Reply to My Interlocutors
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“Reply to My Interlocutors” responds to each contributor, not in order in the text, but in order of issues. Each interlocutor deals with important issues and I situate myself in relation to these. Dealing with Husserl from a twenty-first century position has called for a multiple layered time response, since I find much of his philosophy of science highly outdated. The origins of the various chapters take place over several decades of time.