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81. 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.
82. 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.
83. 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.
84. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Wybo Houkes, Pieter E. Vermaas Artefacts in Analytic Metaphysics: Introduction
85. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Wybo Houkes, Pieter E. Vermaas Produced to Use: Combining Two Key Intuitions on the Nature of Artefacts
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In this paper we examine the possibilities of combining two central intuitions about artefacts: that they are functional objects, and that they are non-natural objects. We do so in four steps. First we argue that, contrary to common opinion, functions cannot be the cornerstone of a characterisation of artefacts. Our argument suggests an alternative view, which characterises artefacts as objects embedded in what we call use plans. Second, we show that this plan-centred successor of the function-focused view is at odds with the non-naturalness intuition. Third, we show that this intuition can be developed by defining artefacts as produced or human-made objects, but that the resulting definition might collapse into the plan-centred view, and has trouble distinguishing artefact types or kinds. Finally, we propose a division of labour between production and use plans: among objects in general, artefacts are distinguished as human-made objects; within the domain of artefacts, types or kinds are characterised by the use plans in which artefacts are embedded.
86. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
George Teschner, Alessandro Tomasi Technological Paradigm in Ancient Taoism
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Heidegger, Winner, and Ellul's critiques of Western technology focus on a notion of efficiency that subordinates to itself all non-instrumental values. An alternative conception of efficiency is proposed based on the Taoist theory of non-action (wu-wei). The ancient Taoist text, The Chuang Tzu, reveals a type of efficiency that is effective, resourceful, and entrepreneurial. It is a form of action which has an intimate rather than alienated relation to technology, and which is sensitive to the ethical and aesthetic values that Heidegger and Ellul claim are excluded from the Western conception of efficiency.
87. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Michael David Kirchhoff Material Agency: A Theoretical Framework for Ascribing Agency to Material Culture
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This article attempts to articulate a theoretical framework, the target of which is to systematically unearth the conditions validating the ascription of agency to material culture. A wide range of studies, located within the interdisciplinary field known as material culture studies, testify to and aim at (re)uniting the materials of material culture with the notion of agency. In this article the argument is advanced that material entities have agency only if two necessary conditions are met: an ontological condition (agency is an asymmetrical and relational category) and an epistemological condition (material entities mediate and transform human understanding). Hopefully, this way of approaching matters will help to establish a constructive framework for future debates.
88. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Tore Birkeland, Roger Strand How to Understand Nano Images
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Nanoscale objects are presented by ever more sophisticated pictures (nano images). There is a need to reflect on the status of such nano images, because the “seeing” involved is of a highly indirect kind. The aim of this paper is to complement existing philosophical critique of nano images with a scientific practitioner's perspective. First, we show some reasons to consider seeing and imaging as complex endeavours not only on the micro and nano scale, but also on the macro level. Secondly, we argue that practising scientists are not only accustomed to interpret pictures and other graphical presentations of data as being partial and simplified, but that simplification is deliberate and internal. Rather than requiring that “true” images have to be representational (Pitt 2004, Pitt 2005), the paper advocates for the fruitfulness of understanding and judging images by the amount and nature of the information they convey. Scientific literacy could be improved by creative development of visualization techniques, but also by improved public understanding of images and their correct and cautious interpretation.
89. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Mark Coeckelbergh The Public Thing: On the Idea of a Politics of Artefacts
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Is there a politics of artifacts, and if so, what does it mean? Defining the issue as a problem about the relation between the human and the non-human, I argue that our common philosophical concepts bar us from an adequate understanding of this problem. Using the work of Hannah Arendt and Bruno Latour, I explore an escape route that involves a radical redefinition of the social. But the cost of this solution is high: we would lose the metaphysical foundation for our belief in the absolute value and dignity of humans. We should pay that prize only if we gain a better understanding of what we are doing and what we want to do together – with things.
90. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Frederick Ferré Philosophy and Technology: Another Look 15 Years Later
91. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Don Ihde Philosophy of Technology (and/or Technoscience?): 1996-2010
92. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Andrew Feenberg Ten Paradoxes of Technology
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Though we may be competent at using many technologies, most of what we think we know about technology in general is false. Our error stems from the everyday conception of things as separate from each other and from us. In reality technologies belong to an interconnected network the nodes of which cannot exist independently qua technologies. What is more we tend to see technologies as quasi-natural objects, but they are just as much social as natural, just as much determined by the meanings we give them as by the causal laws that rule over their powers. The errors of common sense have political consequences in domains such as, development, medicine and environmental policy. In this paper I summarize many of the conclusions philosophy of technology has reached reflecting on the reality of our technological world. These conclusions appear as paradoxes judged from our everyday perspective.This paper presents a philosophy of technology. It draws on what we have learnt in the last 30 years as we abandoned old Heideggerian and positivist notions and faced the real world of technology. It turns out that most of our common sense ideas about technology are wrong. This is why I have put my ten propositions in the form of paradoxes, although I use the word loosely here to refer to the counter-intuitive nature of much of what we know about technology.
93. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Paul Durbin SPT and Social Progress
94. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Joseph C. Pitt The Technological Twist
95. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Pieter E. Vermaas Philosophy of Engineering and Technology: A New Book Series
96. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Philip Brey Philosophy of Technology after the Empirical Turn
97. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Peter-Paul Verbeek Accompanying Technology: Philosophy of Technology after the Ethical Turn
98. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Diane P. Michelfelder The Philosophy of Technology When “Things Ain’t What They Used to Be”
99. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Kirsty Best Redefining the Technology of Media: Actor, World, Relation
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As scholars of technology investigate changes to media alongside the growing popularity of the Internet, video games and other media devices, the descriptive characteristics of media themselves have become stretched further and further to accommodate a raft of new content, technologies and distribution platforms. This stretching becomes a problem when it becomes important to conceptually separate the formerly non-mediated communication devices, such as mobile phones, from their re-emergence as media platforms. A clear separation is important for asking questions about what cultural, social, economic and political effects such media encroachment might entail. The current paper attempts such a conceptual distinction.
100. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Yoni Van Den Eede Collecting Our Lives Online: The Use of Digital Media Seen through the Lens of Collecting Practices
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As we become more and more involved with digital technologies on a daily basis, we are in need of a model to make sense of what we do with and “in” them. Here we analyze the use of digital media by way of a collecting paradigm, since our online activities – centered on selecting, accumulating, organizing, and showing – strongly resemble the practice of collectors. In the first part of the paper, we outline the main traits of collecting practices, and discuss relevant online practices in the light of these traits, thereby tracing the contours of an online “collecting culture.” In the second part, we list the possible underlying causes and motivations for collecting, and investigate how far these explanations also apply to online activity, so offering a preliminary framework for the further study of online practices.