Constructivism and technology critique: Replies to critics

Inquiry 43 (2):225 – 237 (2000)
1. Thomson's critique: Despite the efforts of his followers to show that Heidegger had a progressive theory of technology, his work is clouded by nostalgia. His positive contribution is a fragmentary opening toward a phenomenology of daily technical practice, which I use to develop de Certeau's distinction between the strategic control of technical systems and their tactical usage by subordinates. Heidegger himself made no such application of his own phenomenological approach. 2. Stump's critique: Can an ontological essentialism and a historically oriented constructivism be combined as Questioning Technology attempts to do? Stump claims they cannot, but assumes that I accept far more ontological and epistemological baggage from each position than I do. In fact, what I retain from essentialism is primarily the analysis of the basic technical relation to reality, and from constructivism, historical and hermeneutic methods of analysis of the realization of that relation in actual systems and devices. These elements of the two theories are compatible.
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