The Perspective of the Instruments : Mediating Collectivity
Boer, Bas de; Molder, Hedwig Te; Verbeek, Peter Paul - \ 2018
Foundations of Science 23 (2018)4. - ISSN 1233-1821 - p. 739 - 755.
Actor-Network Theory - Postphenomenology - Scientific instruments - Scientific Perspectivism - Technological mediation - Thing knowledge
Numerous studies in the fields of Science and Technology Studies (STS) and philosophy of technology have repeatedly stressed that scientific practices are collective practices that crucially depend on the presence of scientific technologies. Postphenomenology is one of the movements that aims to draw philosophical conclusions from these observations through an analysis of human–technology interactions in scientific practice. Two other attempts that try to integrate these insights into philosophy of science are Ronald Giere’s Scientific Perspectivism (2006) and Davis Baird’s Thing Knowledge (2004). In this paper, these two approaches will be critically discussed from the perspective of postphenomenology. We will argue that Giere and Baird problematically assume that scientific instruments (a) have a determined function, and (b) that all human members of a scientific collective have immediate access to this function. However, these assumptions also allow them to offer a clear answer to the question how scientists can collectively relate to scientific phenomena. Such an answer is not yet (explicitly) formulated within the postphenomenological perspective. By adding a postphenomenological touch to the semiotic approach in Actor-Network Theory, we offer an account of how different individual human–technology relations are integrated into larger scientific collectives. We do so by showing that scientific instruments not only help constitute scientific phenomena, but also the intersubjectivity within such collectives.
Phenomenology and the Empirical Turn : a Phenomenological Analysis of Postphenomenology
Zwier, Jochem ; Blok, Vincent ; Lemmens, Pieter - \ 2016
Philosophy & Technology 29 (2016)4. - ISSN 2210-5433 - p. 313 - 333.
Empirical turn - Enframing - Heidegger - Postphenomenology - Theoretical attitude
This paper provides a phenomenological analysis of postphenomenological philosophy of technology. While acknowledging that the results of its analyses are to be recognized as original, insightful, and valuable, we will argue that in its execution of the empirical turn, postphenomenology forfeits a phenomenological dimension of questioning. By contrasting the postphenomenological method with Heidegger’s understanding of phenomenology as developed in his early Freiburg lectures and in Being and Time, we will show how the postphenomenological method must be understood as mediation theory, which adheres to what Heidegger calls the theoretical attitude. This leaves undiscussed how mediation theory about ontic beings (i.e.,technologies) involves a specific ontological mode of relating to beings, whereas consideration of this mode is precisely the concern of phenomenology. This ontological dimension is important to consider, since we will argue that postphenomenology is unwittingly technically mediated in an ontological way. The upshot of this is that in its dismissal of Heidegger’s questioning of technology as belonging to “classical philosophy of technology,” postphenomenology implicitly adheres to what Heidegger calls technology as Enframing. We argue that postphenomenology overlooks its own adherence to the theoretical attitude and ultimately to Enframing, and we will conclude with calling for a phenomenological questioning of the dimension that postphenomenology presently leaves unthought, meaning that we will develop a plea for a rehabilitation of the ontological dimension in the philosophy of technology.