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Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology

Volume 22, Issue 3, 2018

Wittgenstein and Philosophy of Technology

Michał Piekarski, Witold Wachowski
Pages 400-424
DOI: 10.5840/techne2018121990

Artefacts as Social Things
Design-Based Approach to Normativity

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.