Philosophy of Human Technology Relations in Design: The Practical Turn

Wouter Eggink, Steven Dorrestijn

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    Philosophy of Technology has produced a substantive amount of theories and reflections about the impacts of technology and innovations on our daily lives and social behaviours. Combining this conceptual toolkit with design, with its capability of actually changing things, promises a powerful approach to developing critical future-making practices. This implies that philosophy of technology moves beyond thinking and discussing concepts and starts to engage more closely with practical probing. In philosophy of technology there has been an empirical turn, towards the study of concrete technologies in society. Our proposal is to further develop this, with a change from ‘study and description’ to ‘interventions by design’, into the actual redesign of technologies and correlated ways of doing. Therefore, in analogy with the empirical turn before, we present this collaboration with design as the ‘Practical Turn in Philosophy of Technology’. In this paper we explore this in a design case study of the digital camera. From a mediation theory analysis and product impact analysis of the evolution of camera technology, it showed that the attention of the photographer shifted from the subject of the photo to the preview of the picture at the camera itself. The project then showed that the former ways of doing, and the values which appeared to be affected, could still be saved or retrieved by a thoughtful redesign. This then, is a case for the feasibility of the idea of “alternative technology” which philosophy could never make so tangible without the practical turn of collaboration with design.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2018
    EventInternational Conference on Human-Technology Relations: Postphenomenology and Philosophy of Technology - Universiteit Twente, Enschede, Netherlands
    Duration: 11 Jul 201813 Jul 2018


    ConferenceInternational Conference on Human-Technology Relations
    Internet address


    • Design Research
    • Philosophy of Technology
    • Human Technology Relations
    • Practical Turn
    • Product Impact Tool
    • Mediation Theory
    • Digital Camera


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