From assigning to designing technological agency [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Human Studies 32 (2):241 - 250 (2009)
In What Things Do , Verbeek (What things do: philosophical reflections on technology, agency and design. Penn State University Press, University Park, 2005a ) develops a vocabulary for understanding the social role of technological artifacts in our culture and in our daily lives. He understands this role in terms of the technological mediation of human behavior and perception. To explain mediation, he levels out the modernist separation of subjects and objects by decreasing the autonomy of humans and increasing the activity of things. His approach consists primarily within a clever integration of the theories of Latour and Ihde, which provides a comprehensive understanding of the social role of technological artifacts. Despite the fact that Verbeek’s book is carefully thought out and already quite influential in the field of philosophy of technology, his approach raises some conceptual and pragmatic questions. The conceptual questions concern (a) the precise meaning of the concept of mediation and the possibility of distinguishing between different forms of mediation, and (b) the differences and similarities between human and technological agency and intentionality. The pragmatic questions concern the application of his theory to the realm of engineering ethics. Particularly pressing is the question of how to assign (moral) responsibility to humans when technological artifacts are mediating the outcomes of human actions. With this article, I will raise these issues, and look forward to Verbeek’s reply.
|Keywords||Mediation Technological agency Responsibility|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
H. M. Collins (1992). Epistemological Chicken HM Collins and Steven Yearley. In Andrew Pickering (ed.), Science as Practice and Culture. University of Chicago Press. 301.
Luciano Floridi & J. W. Sanders (2004). On the Morality of Artificial Agents. Minds and Machines 14 (3):349-379.
Bruno Latour (1999). Pandora's Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies. Harvard University Press.
Bruno Latour (1993). We Have Never Been Modern. Harvard University Press.
Peter-Paul Verbeek (2005). What Things Do: Philosophical Reflections on Technology, Agency, and Design. Penn State University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Auke J. K. Pols (2013). How Artefacts Influence Our Actions. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (3):575-587.
Similar books and articles
Peter-Paul Verbeek (2009). Let's Make Things Better: A Reply to My Readers. [REVIEW] Human Studies 32 (2):251 - 261.
Peter-Paul Verbeek (2009). Ambient Intelligence and Persuasive Technology: The Blurring Boundaries Between Human and Technology. [REVIEW] Nanoethics 3 (3):231-242.
Asle H. Kiran (2012). Technological Presence: Actuality and Potentiality in Subject Constitution. [REVIEW] Human Studies 35 (1):77-93.
Martin Peterson (2011). Can Technological Artefacts Be Moral Agents? Science and Engineering Ethics 17 (3):411-424.
David M. Kaplan (2009). Review: What Things Still Don't Do. [REVIEW] Human Studies 32 (2):229 - 240.
David M. Kaplan (2009). What Things Still Don't Do. [REVIEW] Human Studies 32 (2):229 - 240.
Katinka Waelbers (2009). Technological Delegation: Responsibility for the Unintended. Science and Engineering Ethics 15 (1):51-68.
Peter-Paul Verbeek (2008). Cyborg Intentionality: Rethinking the Phenomenology of Human–Technology Relations. [REVIEW] Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 7 (3):387-395.
Added to index2009-06-15
Total downloads11 ( #132,409 of 1,096,661 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #105,642 of 1,096,661 )
How can I increase my downloads?