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End of the course

Thank you for participating, UTwente programme PSTS

We have come to the end of this online course of Philosophy of Technology and Design. Thank you very much for your participation!


In the first week, the phenomenological approach of Jaspers and Heidegger gave you insight in how you could understand the relation between humans and technology. They would say that you should not divide the world into two categories: the subject (with freedom and intentions) and the objects (which are dead, mute, mere instruments for humans to realise their intentions). They rather emphasised how the relation effects / changes human existence and the perception of the world. However, their approach has been characterised as “backward thinking” and results in a “diagnoses of alienation”. Last week, you got introduced to Ihde’s different types of relations. Whereas phenomenology attempted to overcome the dichotomy between humans and the world, postphenomenology maintains that the two even constitute, or co-shape, each other. According to postphenomenology reality arises in relations, as do humans who encounter it. The technological mediation theory emphasised that there is more technology in us than we think, we are fundamentally mediated beings: technologies are mediators. The theory of mediation – and the examples from the previous step – shows that any design, whether you want it or not, does have an impact on human behaviour. There is no way to get around an impact. Any technology you design, will have some kind of impact; not only functional, but they help to shape how people live their lives. Designers should therefore not only address the question “are we allowed or not allowed to influence the behaviour of people?” but also “how do we give good shape to this influence?”

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Philosophy of Technology and Design: Shaping the Relations Between Humans and Technologies

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