Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 298.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Date: Mon, 08 Oct 2001 06:55:16 +0100
From: Arun-Kumar Tripathi
Subject: Distinguished philosopher Don Ihde on _Technoscience_
Dear humanist scholars,
It is a privilege and an exquisite hono(u)r for me to introduce stellar
scholarly philosopher works of Don Ihde, who is a distinguished professor
in the Department of Philosophy, and is also affiliated with the history
of science and women's studies programs, at SUNY, Stony Brook.
TECHNOSCIENCE: The study of *technoscience* examines cutting edge work in
the fields of the philosophies of science and technology, and science
studies. We read only living authors (such as Donna Haraway, Bruno Latour,
Ian Hacking, Andrew Pickering, Sandra Harding, etc.) and occassionally Don
Ihde has invited other authors to the seminar on *technoscience* for a
"roast" (roastees have included Peter Galison, Hubert Dreyfus, Albert
Borgmann, Andrew Feenberg, etc.). The seminar on *technoscience* has
already resulted in a number of publications related to its activities and
participants regularly present research results at major international
conferences (Aarhus, Denmark; Vienna, Austria; CERN, Switzerland, etc.).
Don Ihde, who has written several books on philosophy of technoscience and
culture from a phenomenological-hermeneutic perspective. (The following
books by Ihde will be used: Experimental Phenomenology; and Expanding
Hermeneutics plus chapters from his forthcoming book Imaging Technologies:
Plato Upside Down). Related perspective and theories from sociology,
philosophy and media theory will be included in the reading material. The
seminar will emphasize the following topics: 1) Philosophy of science and
technology; 2) Sociology of science and technology; 3) Historical
development of imaging in science and other professions; 4) Imaging in
modern hi-tech professions.
Imaging Technologies: Philosophical, Hermeneutic, design and STS
Perspectives on Hi-tech Realities:-->
Imaging in scientific and other professional culture has radically changed
in its history. Today's images range from apparent isomorphic depictions
to highly constructed ones, which are often composites created by computer
processes. They are neither 'representations' nor 'texts' in the usual
senses. But they are 'hermeneutic objects' which call for interpretive
activity. Indeed, the richer these images are for showing interesting
phenomena to professionals, the more the construction is needed for the
'image'. The contention is that this is no longer a process which works
well for 'modernist epistemology'; rather it calls for a much more
'postmodernist hermeneutics' to be understood.
WHOLE EARTH MEASUREMENTS by Don Ihde, State University of New York at
a) HOW MANY PHENOMENOLOGISTS DOES IT TAKE TO DETECT A "GREENHOUSE EFFECT"?
b) ONLY BY BEING PROFOUND CAN HEIDEGGER BE PROFOUNDLY WRONG
c) WHOLE EARTH MEASUREMENTS
d) SCIENCE PRAXIS AS A PHENOMENOLOGICAL HERMENEUTIC
[Theses of Don Ihde is discussed] Synthetic Biology: The Technoscience of
Artificial Life John Sullins
ABSTRACT: This paper uses the theory of technoscience to shed light on the
current criticisms against the emerging science of Artificial Life. We see
that the science of Artificial Life is criticized for the synthetic nature
of its research and its over reliance on computer simulations which is
seen to be contrary to the traditional goals and methods of science.
However, if we break down the traditional distinctions between science and
technology using the theory of technoscience, then we can begin to see
that all science has a synthetic nature and reliance on technology.
Artificial Life researchers are not heretical practitioners of some
pseudoscience; they are just more open about their reliance on technology
to help realize their theories and modeling. Understanding that science
and technology are not as disparate as was once thought is an essential
step in helping us create a more humane technoscience in the future.
Complete article can be read at
Why Not Science Critics? by Don Ihde
Synthetic Biology: The Technoscience of Artificial Life by John Sullins,
Philosophy Computers and Cognitive Science, Binghamton University,
Binghamton New York, USA [These of Don Ihde is discussed]
As soon as the new sciences of Complexity, Chaos Theory, and Artificial
Life (hereafter referred to as AL), began to be noticed by the popular
science press a kind of "honeymoon" period began. During this time these
sciences were seen as the sexy new breakthrough theories that would
eventually lead to our ability to solve all the problems of the world,
from the cure for AIDS to the complete understanding and synthesis of
living systems. Recently a number of attacks have been leveled against
the studies of Complexity and Chaos Theory in general and on the study of
AL directly. The most damning of these attacks on AL has been launched by
John Horgan in his article "From Complexity to Perplexity," printed in
Scientific American (Horgan 6/95) and in his book The End of Science. In
his article Horgan fiercely criticized the study of AL with the
implication that the entire study is some kind of sham. Horgan states
"Artificial Life--and the entire field of complexity--seems to be based on
a seductive syllogism: There are simple sets of mathematical rules that
when followed by a computer give rise to extremely complicated patterns.
The world also contains many extremely complicated patterns. Conclusion:
Simple rules underlie many extremely complicated phenomena in the world.
With the help of powerful computers, scientists can root those rules out
(Horgan 6/96, Pg. 107)."
Complete article can be read at:
In his very latest book, "Bodies in Technology" Professor Ihde begins with
an analysis of embodiment in cyberspace, then moves on to consider ways in
which social theorists have interpreted or overlooked these conditions. An
astute and sensible judge of these theories, Don Ihde is a uniquely
provocative and helpful guide through contemporary thinking about
technology and embodiment, drawing on sources and examples as various as
video games, popular films, the workings of e-mail, and virtual reality
Thank you for listening!
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