Hermeneutics, History, and Technology
The Call of the Future
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For better and worse the future is often conceived in technological terms. Technology is supposed to meet the challenge of climate change or resource depletion. And when one asks about the world in 20 or 100 years, answers typically revolve around AI, genome editing, or geoengineering.
There is great demand to speculate about the future of work, the future of mobility, industry 4.0 and humanity 2.0. The humanities and social sciences, Science Studies and Technology Assessment respond to this demand but need to seek out a responsible way of taking the future into account. This collection of papers, interviews, debates grew out of disagreements about technological futures, speculative ethics, plausible scenarios, anticipatory governance, proactionary and precautionary approaches. It proposes Hermeneutic Technology Assessment as a way of understanding ourselves through our ways of envisioning the future. At the same time, a hermeneutic understanding of technological projects and prototypes allows for normative assessments of their promises.
Is the future an object of design? This question can bring together and divide policy makers, STS scholars, social theorists, and philosophers of history, and it will interest also the scientists and engineers who labor under the demand to deliver that future.
Table of Contents
Part I: Debating the Program 1. On the Road to Hermeneutic Technology Assessment – A Short Historic-Systematic Reconstruction, Arthur Wei-Kang Liu; 2. Hermeneutic Technology Assessment – Why It Is Needed and What It Might Be, Armin Grunwald and Alfred Nordmann; 3. Future Conversations – A Topical Exchange with Roberto Cantoni, Sascha Dickel, Christopher Groves, Armin Grunwald, Ben Hurlbut, Sheila Jasanoff, Georg Khushf, Sebastian Pfotenhauer, Arie Rip, Martin Sand, and Christina Schües, Vera Borrmann, Christopher Coenen, and Alfred Nordmann; 4. The Questions of Hermeneutic TA – Towards a Toolbox, Martin Sand Part II: Theory and Context 5. Technology in the Imagination of Society – Sheila Jasanoff in Conversation with Alfred Nordmann, Sheila Jasanoff and Alfred Nordmann; 6. On "not having a future", Martin Sand; 7. On Profane Futures and Profane Futures Literacy, Christopher Groves; 8. Precautionary vs. Proactionary – A Debate between Steve Fuller and Alfred Nordmann with Christopher Coenen, Sascha Dickel, Martin Sand, and René von Schomberg Part III: Exemplary Explorations 9. Prototyping Futures - Towards a Hermeneutics of Artefacts and Technologies, Sascha Dickel; 10. The Hermeneutic Perspective on Modeling in Technology Assessment, Armin Grunwald; 11. Machine Hermeneutics, Alfred Nordmann
Armin Grunwald is Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Technology and Director of the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany. His research fields include technology assessment and ethics of new technologies. He is author of multiple publications, including Technology Assessment in Practice and Theory.
Alfred Nordmann is a philosopher of science and of technoscience at the Technical University of Darmstadt. His current interests concern working knowledge and principles of composition as epistemological and aesthetic foundations of technoscience. He published introductions to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus and the Philosophy of Technology as well as Methodological Critiques of Technological Futures.
Martin Sand is Assistant Professor of Philosophy of Technology at Delft University of Technology, Netherlands. He investigates digital utopias utilizing recent insights from political philosophy. He teaches various courses on engineering ethics and is co-editor of the book series, Futures of Technology, Science and Society.