The Public Thing: On the Idea of a Politics of Artefacts


Coeckelbergh, Mark (2009) The Public Thing: On the Idea of a Politics of Artefacts. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology, 13 (3). pp. 175-181. ISSN 1091-8264

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Abstract:Is there a politics of artifacts, and if so, what does it mean? Defining the issue as a problem about the relation between the human and the non-human, I argue that our common philosophical concepts bar us from an adequate understanding of this problem. Using the work of Hannah Arendt and Bruno Latour, I explore an escape route that involves a radical redefinition of the social. But the cost of this solution is high: we would lose the metaphysical foundation for our belief in the absolute value and dignity of humans. We should pay that prize only if we gain a better understanding of what we are doing and what we want to do together – with things.
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