Volume 48, 2008
Philosophy of Technology
Setargew Kenaw Fantaw
Post-phenomenology and Cross-cultural Technology Transfer
Don Ihde tries to conceptualize cross-cultural technology transfer within the post-phenomenological perspective. Using his concept of the multistability of technological artifacts, Ihde discusses how technologies could have a variety of uses in different contexts. When taken at the level of international technology transfer, i.e. the level where technologies move from one cultural geography to another, there will be two contexts: (i) the context where the artifact is being produced and (ii) the context into which it is moving to. Ihde’s problem lies in emphasizing the first and almost concluding with certainty that technologization is Westernization. Consequently, his theory of technology transfer, in addition to being culturalist, gives priority to the cultural context from which it was physically separated to the culture in which it has started functioning. The author of this paper critically engages this tendentiously culturalist point of view.