Draft Thesis / Problem Statements

Post each of our draft thesis or problem statements here. We'll see how similar we all are in what we think about moving forward. Consider ways to map the article—for the reader. So he knows where we're headed in the article.

Okay. I read through the essay and there definitely seemed to be some crystallization of structure going on. I suspect it might be tough, however, to come up with a general thesis just yet. The way it looked to me, was that in the last two thirds we get down to 1) Addressing the nature of the philosophy science 2) addressing the nature of the philosophy of technology 3) Building some considerations in favor of combining the two disciplines 4) Building some consideration regarding why we might not want to combine them e.g. have them cohabitate. I would not mind honing in on this set of topics because they seem to cohere. Perhaps we could begin with an introduction; ask what sort of relation it would be appropriate for the two disciplines to share. Then we could proceed with a detailed respective treatment of the two disciplines. Instead of focusing on problematizing the definitions of the philosophy of science and the philosophy of technology, however, we could start providing background, looking at what the major goals in these fields are and perhaps keep a careful eye towards where a combination of the two fields would be mutually beneficial. This latter part would come into play in the argument for combining them. This part would have to be authored by someone who is in favor of doing so. Then we could have someone in favor of keeping them separate write the contrary argument. Perhaps once we reach something more or less finished we could all subsequently get together and discuss a compromise position. I think we could probably get away with deep-sixing my section; it just seems out of place. In that case, I will find a different section to work on. Any ways let me know what you guys think. I am amenable to just about anything, I just thought this looked like the general direction of things.
-John W.

I see John's point - reading through it myself, I see it as being about the areas of intersection between the philosophy of technology and the philosophy of science, and whether that intersection is enough to truly consider them to be a unified field with different subareas or if they're truly different but overlapping fields. I think right now it's more of an exploration than an argument, which I think is creating some of the confusion, but is there a way to keep it as an exploration and still hone the point?
- Kristen K.

This article is exploratory in nature, exploring the intersections of philosophy of science and technology and the consequences of unifying and uncoupling the field. In this article we explore various directions/alternatives/potentials while acknowledging the attendant positions/commitments you might take on board. We begin with a summary of the goals and concepts of the philosophy of technology and the philosophy of science as limited by the readings this semester. This summary illuminates how the two fields have been treated separately and what we take on board if we continue with the status quo.

We then proceed with exploring alternatives for combining the two fields as distinct fields with areas of overlap. They overlap in terms of their philosophical method, the common language and approaches to the subjects, specifically in terms of social constructivism, politics, and also instrumentalization of the world in terms of science and technology. They also overlap where science and technology might be considered to be the same thing (e.g. technoscience). Our conclusions are tentative but we offer

Kaun-Hung’s comment

I am not sure that it is appropriate to post my comment here.

“Philosophy of technology’s inquiry method can be applied to other fields rather easily if you take a radical step: define everything as a technology. If you are bold enough to make this step (I am not sure I am comfortable with this), then the method of the philosophy of technology are rather easy to apply. Of course, the methods may not be the best explanatory tool – but no one is suggesting that the philosophy of technology needs to be used in an all-or-nothing manner.”

Kaun-hung’s comment:
For me, this paragraph is strange. I think the problem is that we cannot clearly define what technology is yet. The definition of technology is various. If I take the feminism scope, I could claim a stove and a sewing machine are technology. However, in the past, they could not be deemed as a technology which was defined as innovations and using or serving for natural science. Besides, I had read an article which is talking the definition of technology. In that article, author takes a stone as an example to debate the nature of technology and tries to find out the boundary of Natural event and technology. Frankly, it is a work of a Dutch philosopher. Although it is an English article, I am not sure I understand it.

In my opinion, I think there are two ways to tackle this problematic paragraph. Firstly, we can borrow the concept of “situated knowledge” to claim that technology is local and situated. For instance, iPhone is a great technology in U.S. However, in Moon, it will become a meaningless metal. Even, humans want to use it. Secondly, delete some problematic sentences.

Finally, I think there is an interesting question. Why do we (or I) have to define technology clearly? However, we (or I) don’t need to define science clearly.

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