The Mailman Problem

Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology 17 (1):144-162 (2013)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Critical theory of technology (CTT) and postphenomenology (PostPhen) complement each other finely. Yet whereas CTT runs the risk of negating the interwovenness of humans and technology, a problem partly resolved by PostPhen, PostPhen itself threatens to neglect its very own base, i.e., the condition of technology and society being first and foremost human endeavors. This paper suggests not to decry these two approaches but to add a third component in order to compensate for their deficiencies. That third partner consists of a new-fledged version of philosophical anthropology elaborated on the basis of the media theory of Marshall McLuhan. I am here mainly concerned with how such an approach can supplement CTT, which it does by offering an account of technological mediation that harbors not only a relational-ontological but also—in contrast with PostPhen—a substantivist-ontological aspect, and in addition a proper theory of technological blindness, much needed to make sense of perceptive biases and meaning-constituting activities in everyday life. I will illustrate these issues by way of what I dub ‘the Mailman Problem’: a sketch of a very mundane instance of “deworlding” that is, however, not perceived as such.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,386

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Expanding Mediation Theory.Peter-Paul Verbeek - 2012 - Foundations of Science 17 (4):391-395.
Skype and the Reality of Remedial Media.Paul Levinson - 2012 - Foundations of Science 17 (4):397-399.
GRW and the tails problem.Peter Lewis - 1995 - Topoi 14 (1):23-33.
Trusting Our Selves to Technology.Asle H. Kiran & Peter-Paul Verbeek - 2010 - Knowledge, Technology & Policy 23 (3):409-427.
Trust in technological systems.Philip J. Nickel - 2013 - In M. J. de Vries, S. O. Hansson & A. W. M. Meijers (eds.), Norms in technology: Philosophy of Engineering and Technology, Vol. 9. Springer.
The specificity of the generality problem.Earl Conee - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (3):751-762.
The technological construction of social power.Philip Brey - 2008 - Social Epistemology 22 (1):71 – 95.
What's wrong with being a technological essentialist? A response to Feenberg.Iain Thomson - 2000 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 43 (4):429 – 444.


Added to PP

40 (#388,897)

6 months
3 (#992,474)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Yoni Van Den Eede
Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references