Discovering Subjectivity in the Technosystem: Developing a Critical Position Towards Contingent Forms of Rationality

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Two of the main approaches of what is often referred to as the ‘empirical philosophy of technology’ are postphenomenology and critical constructivism. Critical constructivists charge postphenomenologists for paying too little attention to the fact that our society is co-constituted not only by technologies, but also by forms of rationality exercised on a political level. Postphenomenologists, then, charge critical constructivism for insufficiently recognizing that the way technologies are appropriated in the lifeworld often evades forms of institutionalized rationality. The goal of this paper is to show how these different approaches should not be juxtaposed, but can better be seen as complementary in the development of a political philosophy of technology. This will be made clear through a discussion of the role of STS in the work of Peter-Paul Verbeek, and in the work of Andrew Feenberg. I suggest that developing an ‘empirically informed’ political philosophy of technology requires to both recognize how technologies constitute particular forms of subjectivity and to understand the rational processes through which particular technologies are designed. When combining both of these insights, it becomes possible to articulate a normative position with regard to technological developments.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTechné: Research in Philosophy and Technology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 4 Mar 2020

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • Subjectivity
  • Rationality
  • Technosystem
  • Postphenomenology
  • Critical constructivism

Cite this