How are social relations appearing in computers? How are social relations realised in a different kind of medium, in the hardware and software of computers? How are the organising principles of computer building related to those of the life-worlds in a social system? Following a partly social constructivist and partly hermeneutic line a more general answer will be presented. The basic conclusion of this approach is simple: computers are constructed under the influence of the ideas of modernity and represent its (...) structure, interests and values, in contrast to computer networks, which embody the ideas of postmodernity. (shrink)
I explore some of the ways that assumptions about the nature of substance shape metaphysical debates about the structure of Reality. Assumptions about the priority of substance play a role in an argument for monism, are embedded in certain pluralist metaphysical treatments of laws of nature, and are central to discussions of substantivalism and relationalism. I will then argue that we should reject such assumptions and collapse the categorical distinction between substance and property.
This paper proposes a specific approach to understanding the nature of technology that encompasses the entire field of technological praxis, from the making of primitive tools to using the Internet. In that approach, technology is a specific form of human agency that yields to (an imperfect) realization of human control over a technological situation—that is, a situation not governed to an end by natural constraints but by specific human aims. The components of such technological situations are a given collection of (...) natural or artificial beings, humans, human aims, and situation-bound tools. By performing technological situation analysis, the essential form of tool making, the complex system of relationships between science and technology, technological practices with and without machines, the finiteness or imperfectness of any technology, and engineering (i.e., the possibility of the creation of technological situations) can be considered. For a better characterization of the approach to technology, the paper also presents a comparison of other philosophies of technology. Following Feenberg’s comparative analysis, the so-called fundamental question of the philosophy of technology is formulated, its two sides are identified, and it is applied for clarification of our position within philosophy of technology. In our approach, all human praxis can be considered to be technological; more precisely, every human activity has a technological aspect or dimension. (shrink)
The paper argues for the necessity of building up a philosophy of the internet and proposes a version of it, an ‘Aristotelian’ philosophy of the internet. First, a short overview of some recent trends in the internet research is presented. This train of thoughts leads to a proposal of understanding the nature of the internet in the spirit of the Aristotelian philosophy i.e., to conceive “the internet as the internet”, as a totality of its all aspects, as a whole entity. (...) For this purpose, the internet is explained in four – easily distinguishable, but obviously connected – contexts: we regard it as a system of technology, as an element of communication, as a cultural medium and as an independent organism. Based on these investigations we conclude that the internet is the medium of a new mode of human existence created by late modern man; a mode that is built on earlier (i.e., natural, and social) spheres of existence and yet it is markedly different from them. We call this newly formed existence web-life. (shrink)
Alan Millar's paper (2011) involves two parts, which I address in order, first taking up the issues concerning the goal of inquiry, and then the issues surrounding the appeal to reflective knowledge. I argue that the upshot of the considerations Millar raises count in favour of a more important role in value-driven epistemology for the notion of understanding and for the notion of epistemic justification, rather than for the notions of knowledge and reflective knowledge.
Translation is a subject that can never be spoken of sufficiently, especially at a time when exchanges and conflicts between cultures are intensifying with globalization. Starting from the possibility of translation, this article does not reflect upon the old question of the opposition between the fidelity and freedom of the translator, or the theories of foreignization and domestication, but rather focuses on the role of the translator in the relations of otherness. In the face of indetermination, we seek, through the (...) example of the translation of a word ‘honor’, full of historical and cultural connotations in the French language, to prove that grasping meaning is fundamental in order to produce a good translation. In order for that, the translator should be a linguist to grasp meaning and significance in the vast semantic fields, then be a scientist who knows how to reappropriate the conceptual tools proposed by other social sciences. These two roles guarantee the understanding and the demonstration of the otherness, which can only come from a systematic structuring of the culture of departure. (shrink)
When people speak of ‘the law of the jungle’, they usually mean unions restrained and ruthless competition, with everyone out solely for his own advantage. But the phrase was coined by Rudyard Kipling, in The Second Jungle Book , and he meant something very different. His law of the jungle is a law that wolves in a pack are supposed to obey. His poem says that ‘the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is (...) the Pack’, and it states the basic principles of social co-operation. Its provisions are a judicious mixture of individualism and collectivism, prescribing graduated and qualified rights for fathers of families, mothers with cubs, and young wolves, which constitute an elementary system of welfare services. Of course, Kipling meant his poem to give moral instruction to human children, but he probably thought it was at least roughly correct as a description of the social behaviour of wolves and other wild animals. Was he right, or is the natural world the scene of unrestrained competition, of an individualistic struggle for existence? (shrink)
Based on a brief overview of the history of ontology and on some philosophical problems of virtual reality, a new approach to virtuality is proposed. To characterize the representational technologies in the Internet age, I suggest that Aristotle’s dualistic ontological system be complemented with a third form of being: virtuality. In the virtual form of being actuality and potentiality are inseparably intertwined. Virtuality is potentiality considered together with its actualization. In this view, virtuality is reality with a measure, a reality (...) which has no absolute character, but which has a relative nature. This situation can remind us the emergence of probability in the 17th century: then the concept of certainty, now the concept of reality is reconsidered and relativized. Currently, in the descriptions of the world created by representational technologies, there are two coherent worldviews with different ontologies: the world is inhabited by actual and potential beings—or all the beings in the world are virtual. (shrink)
Robert Stern has argued that Levinas is a kind of command theorist and that, for this reason, Løgstrup can be understood to have provided an argument against Levinas. In this paper, I discuss Levinas’s use of the vocabulary of demand, order, and command in the light of Jewish philosophical accounts of such notions in the work of Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, and Emil Fackenheim. These accounts revise the traditional Jewish idea of command and I show that Levinas’s use of this (...) vocabulary is also revisionary. I show that in light of this tradition of discussion, Levinas’s use is not susceptible to the interpretation Stern proposes and thus that the Løgstrup-style argument cannot be used against Levinas. (shrink)
The paper argues for the necessity of building up a philosophy of the Internet and proposes a version of it, an «Aristotelian» philosophy of the Internet. First, an overview of the recent trends in the Internet research is presented. This train of thoughts leads to a proposal of understanding the nature of the Internet in the spirit of the Aristotelian philosophy i. e., to conceive the Internet as the Internet, as a totality of its all aspects, as a whole entity. (...) For this purpose, the Internet is explained in four (easily distinguishable, but obviously connected) contexts: we regard it as a system of technology, as an element of communication, as a cultural medium and as an independent organism. Based on these investigations we conclude that the Internet is the medium of a new mode of human existence created by late modern man; a mode that is built on earlier (i. e., natural, and social) spheres of existence and yet it is markedly different from them. We call this newly formed existence web-life. Finally using two enlightening cultural-historical analogies (the reformation of knowledge and the formation of web-life) several fundamental characteristics of the web-life is presented. (shrink)
Based on recent trends in philosophy of science, in philosophy of technology, and in technosience studies it can be concluded that the following formula expresses a significant relationship of the relevant disciplines: science is equal to technology plus philosophy. In order to disclose the meaning of this relationship first of all we have to characterize a kind of philosophy of technology. In this view, the human rule over technological situations and the creation/use of tools play a fundamental role. The tools (...) are created by interpretation, and any technological praxis is situation-bound. The characteristics of sciences are very different – or even the opposite – ones: in sciences we want to reach a situation-free knowledge. Scientific knowledge is not situation-bound, it is universally valid. The question is: how can we use the situation-bound technological praxis for building up of situation-free scientific knowledge? It can be shown that a specific application of philosophical principles and ideas makes this possible. Philosophy can create worlds from situations. Consequently, following certain prescriptions of both technology and philosophy, we can perform a scientific praxis. In this paper, some historical and philosophical arguments will be presented to show this interrelatedness, the most fundamental relationships between science, technology, and philosophy. (shrink)
Human existence is being transformed. Its structure, many thousand years old, seems to be changing: built on the natural and the social, there is a third form of existence: web-life. Man is now the citizen of three worlds and its nature is being formed by the relations of natural, social and web-life. We regard as our main goal the study of web-life, which has developed as the result of Internet use.
Thought, according to Hegel, is not only the product of a faculty of a subject, or a means by which a thinking subject tries to grasp a world that is alien to him. It is also the very structure of the world, that is disclosed to a subject through the thinking activity of a subject. The fundamental question that crosses the whole post-Kantian philosophy is that of the relation between thought and reality, i.e. the question of whether reality depends on (...) the categorial requirements imposed by the thinking subject, or whether reality maintains some form of independence from the thinking subject. Seen from this standpoint, Hegel can be read both as an author who radicalizes Kant’s transcendental perspective, and also as a critic of that perspective. In other words, he can be seen as an idealist: according to Hegel, any philosophy is idealist if it claims that something finite, qua finite, is essentially connected with something other. He can also be seen as an anti-idealist: insofar as his philosophy aims to overcome a hyper-transcendentalist perspective, i.e. it is so since it rejects idealism as subjective idealism. Moreover, Hegel’s anti-idealism can be characterized as realism. This is because, if we admit that overcoming transcendentalism without falling back again on a pre-critical conception of thought and of reality involves an idea of thought which is not reducible to a "mentalistic" conception of it, we need to conceive of thought as something that is not alien to reality. Hegel conceives of thought as intimately connected with the world, as its own rational structure. This “realism” of thought is what makes Hegelian idealism, so to speak, anti-idealistic. Through this "realism" of thought Hegel pursues two goals. On the one hand, Hegel attempts to overcome a subjectivistic and instrumentalistic conception of thought, according to which a subject talks and relates to a reality that is always only a construction of him, and so it is necessarily the simulacrum of something that remains inaccessible in its truth. On the other hand, Hegel attempts to overcome a conception of reality characterized merely as alien and opposite to thought itself, and which is the counterpart of the subjectivistic and instrumentalistic conception of thought. By pursuing these two goals it should be gained a conception of reality which could warrant some form of objectivity, but which cannot be equated with the substantialistic conception of the pre-Kantian metaphysics. (shrink)
Leonard Trelawney Hobhouse is considered one of the founders of sociology as a discipline. His four books which form Principles of Sociology are published here together for the first time - representing a synthesis of the philosophical and scientific methods of social inquiry. Although very scarce, the study by Hobson and Ginsberg is still regarded as the most comprehensive account of Hobhouse's life and works. There is also a memoir by Hobson and a selection of Hobhouse's otherwise inaccessible writings.