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Robotics in Germany and Japan

Philosophical and Technical Perspectives


Michael Funk and Bernhard Irrgang

Germany and Japan are two of the worldwide leading countries in robotics research. Robotics as a key technology introduces technical as well as philosophical and cultural challenges. How can we use robots that have a human-like appearance in everyday life? Are there limits to technology? What are the cultural similarities and differences between Germany and Japan? These are some of the questions which are discussed in the book. Five chapters comprehend an intercultural and interdisciplinary framework including current research fields like Roboethics, Hermeneutics of Technologies, Technology Assessment, Robotics in Japanese Popular Culture and Music Robots. Contributions on cultural interrelations, technical visions and essays round out the content of this book.
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Humanoid Robots and Human Knowing – Perspectivity and Hermeneutics in Terms of Material Culture


Michael Funk


In this approach I am going to combine the philosophy of understanding and interpreting (hermeneutics) with the philosophy of knowing (epistemology). Related to a concept of perspectivity emphasis is on robots in terms of material culture. Human knowing is introduced as a process of tacit understanding and of interrelating perspectivity with forms of knowledge in particular situations. Those situations are shaped by cultural horizons: 1PPP (“first-person-perspective-plural”: native culture), 2PPP (“second-person-perspective-plural”: foreign culture)1 and 3PPP (“third-person-perspective-plural”: transcultural objective perspective related to natural laws or ethical argumentations, which is also applied in the form of political or legal organizations and Technology Assessment2). Moreover the perspectivity is also related to: 1PP (“I”), 2PP (“You”) and 3PP (external observer). While we are interrelating the personal actions (1PP) with social feedback (2PP), we are always involved in a concrete cultural situation (language, gestures, norms, values... [1PPP]). Within those processes, that is my hypothesis, we intertwine five forms of knowledge: 1. sensorimotor movements; 2. perceptions; 3. emotions; 4. propositions; and 5. philosophical-reflections3. What does this mean for “Humanoid Robots and Human Knowing”?

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