Friday, 3 August 2012

Postphenomenology and Technoscience… Hybrid Philosophy

IHDE, D. (2009) Postphenomenology and Technoscience: The Peking University Lectures. New York: State University of New York Press.

“Postphenomenology is a modified, hybrid phenomenology. On the one side, it recognizes the role of pragmatism in the overcoming of early modern epistemology and metaphysics. It sees in classical pragmatism a way to avoid the problems and misunderstandings of phenomenology as a subjectivist philosophy, sometimes taken as antiscientific, locked into idealism or solipsism. Pragmatism has never been thought of this way, and I regard this as a positive feature. On the other side, it sees in the history of phenomenology a development of a rigorous style of analysis through the use of variational theory, the deeper phenomenological understanding of embodiment and human active bodily perception, and a dynamic understanding of a lifeworld as a fruitful enrichment of pragmatism. And, finally, with the emergence of the philosophy of technology, it finds a way to probe and analyse the role of technologies in social, personal, and cultural life that it undertakes by concrete – empirical – studies of technologies in the plural. This, then, is a minimal outline of what constitutes postphenomenology.” (p23)

How postphenomenology is useful is that it is a hybrid philosophy, and as such it has solved some of the criticisms of phenomenology as being antiscientific and “locked into idealism or solipsism” (p23) by turning to the strengths of pragmatism. Phenomenology offers a “rigorous style of analysis through the use of variational theory” (ibid.) that coupled with pragmatic structures enriches how embodiment and the perception of the human body are understood. 

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