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Revisiting Ihde’s Fourfold “Technological Relationships”: Application and Modification

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The question of how we relate to the world via technology is fundamental to the philosophy of technology. One of the leading experts, the contemporary philosopher Don Ihde, has addressed this core issue in many of his works and introduced a fourfold classification of technology-based relationships. The conceptual paper at hand offers a modification of Ihde’s theory, but unlike previous research, it explores the functional compositions of Ihde’s categories instead of complementing them with additional relational categories. The result is a simplification and reduction of the analytical categories of Ihde’s theory, where alterity and background relations are ontologically reduced to ratios between the mediated relationships. The paper uses cutting-edge robotics as a hermeneutic tool in order to present this point and concludes with a discussion of the usefulness of applying static categorization to complex technology and of various challenges and limitations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophy & Technology
Pages (from-to)189-207
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

    Research areas

  • Philosophy of technology, Human–robot interaction/relation, Phenomenology, Robotics

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