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Bernhard Irrgang: Critics of Technological Lifeworld

Collection of Philosophical Essays


Arun Kumar Tripathi

We live in a technologically mediated lifeworld and culture. Technologies either magnify or amplify human experiences. They can change the ways we live. Technology has been woven into the social and cultural fabric of different cultures. German phenomenologist philosopher Bernhard Irrgang for than 2 decades engaging with the questions, what role does technology play in everyday human experience? How do technological artefacts affect people’s existence and their relations with the world? And how do instruments, devices and apparatuses produce and transform human knowledge? Along with Albert Borgmann, Larry Hickman, Don Ihde, Carl Mitcham, Hans Poser, Peter-Paul Verbeek, Walther Zimmerli, contemporary German philosopher of technology Bernhard Irrgang provides a useful vocabulary for understanding the ways we relate to technology and to the world through technologies in different cultures.


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Today, more than ever before, there is an urgent need to understand the impera- tive of modernization and its attendant idiom of globalization. We require an understanding of science and technology on the basis of culture, wisdom, ecol- ogy and ethical values. The process of current globalization is emerging into a cultural, historical, and ecological phenomenon. At the same time, this change is adding an ethical dimension to the development of technology, which requires a deeper understanding of techniques, technology and science. The philosophy of technology remains a relatively young sub-discipline in philosophy. Although there were late 19th century intimations with Karl Marx and Ernst Kapp, its origins are largely 20th century. Even the term, „technol- ogy,” it is a largely 20th century term and use. David Nye, a historian of tech- nology notes that there are very few references to technology in the late 19th century, with „inventions” and „applied arts” being more common until after the First World War And, it is just after the first World War that philosophers, par- ticularly in Europe, began to use the term, „technology,” and to write book- length works about or including discussions of technology, Don Ihde argues. Technologies were analogized as extensions and magnifications of human or- ganic processes and projected into an external environment. A philosophy of technological culture should take the material culture of technology into ac- count. Classical phenomenological philosophy of technology has mainly tried to understand technology in terms of the conditions of its possibility. As...

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