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Displaying: 1-10 of 495 documents


1. 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
2. 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.
3. 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
4. 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.
5. 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
6. 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.
7. 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
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.