Democratic Potentialities and Toxic Actualities: Feenberg, Ihde, Arendt, and the Internet

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Abstract

In this paper I argue that while Feenberg’s critical constructivism can help us to see the political potential of technologies, it cannot help us to understand the political actuality of technologies without the help of postphenomenology. In part 2, I examine Feenberg’s attempt to merge Frankfurt School critical theory and SCOT into “critical constructivism.” In part 3, I focus on Feenberg’s analyses of the internet in order to highlight a blind spot in critical constructivism when it comes to threats to democracy that come from out of the demos itself. In part 4, I show how critical constructivism would benefit from adopting the theory of technological mediation found in postphenomenology by presenting a postphenomenological investigation of trolling and other forms of destructive behavior unaccounted for by Feenberg’s investigation of the internet. In part 5, I conclude by turning to the work of Hannah Arendt in order to show why, just as critical constructivism could benefit from becoming more postphenomenological, postphenomenology could benefit from becoming more critical.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-194
Number of pages17
JournalTechné: Research in Philosophy and Technology
Volume24
Issue number1-2
Early online date3 Mar 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • Critical constructivism
  • Postphenomenology
  • Mediation theory
  • Hannah Arendt
  • Internet
  • Democracy
  • Trolling
  • Individualism

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