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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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Epilogue: Questions Concerning Technology (Peter-Paul Verbeek)


135 Epilogue: Questions Concerning Technology Peter-Paul Verbeek German philosophy of technology has a long tradition. Or, better, the philosophy of technology has a long German tradition. For some, this tradition might seem to be dominated by the work of Martin Heidegger. But even though Heidegger’s 1953 Die Frage nach der Technik (The Question concerning Technology) is still an icon for German philosophy of technology, the tradition encompasses much more. Many philosophers of technology consider the appearance of Ernst Kapp’s 1877 Grundlinien einer Philosophie der Technik (Fundamentals of a phi- losophy of technics) as the birth certificate of the field. Since then, many other German philosophers have given shape to a broad variety of approaches and theories of technology. Kapp’s dialectical approach was taken up by Arnold Gehlen, who firmly established a philosophical-anthropological approach to technology. And after Gehlen, a new generation of philosophers entered the field, like Hans Lenk, Friedrich Rapp, Günter Ropohl, und Walther Zimmerli, who brought in a broad variety of perspectives, including more internally ori- ented engineering perspectives, and influences from analytic philosophy. Firmly rooted in this rich tradition, the work of Bernhard Irrgang initiates an interesting new development. Characteristic of his approach is a central focus on developing a ‘philosophical anthropology of technology’, on the basis of which he addresses a broad variety of issues and questions, ranging from the ethics of robotics to biotechnology, and from technology transfer to issues of trust. His work shows a deep engagement with the social roles and impacts...

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