A space of one’s own: Autonomy, privacy, liberty

The value of a negatively defined private space is defended as important for the development of personal autonomy. It is argued that negative liberty is problematic when split off from its connection with this ideal. An ethical interpretation of personal autonomy is proposed according to which a private space is one of autonomy’s preconditions. This…

Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life: A Philosophical Inquiry

Blending social analysis and philosophy, Albert Borgmann maintains that technology creates a controlling pattern in our lives. This pattern, discernible even in such an inconspicuous action as switching on a stereo, has global effects: it sharply divides life into labor and leisure, it sustains the industrial democracies, and it fosters the view that the earth…

Philosophy and Computers

At this early stage in the development of a philosophical machine ethics, already a wide range of theoretical positions have been staked out. There are machine ethics utilitarians, and of course proponents of approaches following Kant, Ross, and various virtue theorists, too. Further categorization yields top-down, bottom-up, and hybrid approaches. A consideration of the logic…

Technology as Extension of Human Faculties

The idea that technology is an extension of the human organism is encountered regularly in the history of thought about technology. The idea, in its most basic form, is that technical objects extend the human organism by replicating or amplifying bodily and mental abilities. This idea is usually presented as a key to a better…

Cultural Techniques: Or the End of the Intellectual Postwar Era in German Media Theory

This paper seeks to introduce cultural techniques to an Anglophone readership. It relates the re-emergence of cultural techniques (a concept first employed in the 19th century in an agricultural context) to the changing intellectual constellation of postwar Germany. More specifically, it traces how the concept evolved from – and reacted against – so-called German media…