Technology Games: Using Wittgenstein for Understanding and Evaluating Technology
In the philosophy of technology after the empirical turn, little attention has been paid to language and its relation to technology. In this programmatic and explorative paper, it is proposed to use the later Wittgenstein, not only to pay more attention to language use in philosophy of technology, but also to rethink technology itself—at least technology in its aspect of tool, technology-in-use. This is done by outlining a working account of Wittgenstein’s view of language (as articulated mainly in the Investigations) and by then applying that account to technology—turning around Wittgenstein’s metaphor of the toolbox. Using Wittgenstein’s concepts of language games and form of life and coining the term ‘technology games’, the paper proposes and argues for a use-oriented, holistic, transcendental, social, and historical approach to technology which is empirically but also normatively sensitive, and which takes into account implicit knowledge and know-how. It gives examples of interaction with social robots to support the relevance of this project for understanding and evaluating today’s technologies, makes comparisons with authors in philosophy of technology such as Winner and Ihde, and sketches the contours of a phenomenology and hermeneutics of technology use that may help us to understand but also to gain a more critical relation to specific uses of concrete technologies in everyday contexts. Ultimately, given the holism argued for, it also promises a more critical relation to the games and forms of life technologies are embedded in—to the ways we do things.
Citation:Coeckelbergh, M. (2017) Technology Games: Using Wittgenstein for Understanding and Evaluating Technology. Science and Engineering Ethics, online first, S. 1-17. DOI: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11948-017-9953-8
Research Group:Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility
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