published on August 12, 2016
From Interrelational Ontology to Instrumental Ethics
Expanding Pragmatic Postphenomenology
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.