Call for Papers: „Wittgenstein and Philosophy of Technology“

Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology

Special Issue, Expected: Volume 22, Issue 3, 2018

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Guest Editors:

  • Mark Coeckelbergh, University of Vienna, Austria

  • Michael Funk, University of Vienna, Austria

  • Stefan Koller, University of Colorado, USA

Submission Deadline: October 1st, 2017

Few philosophers of technology enlist Wittgenstein’s work when thinking about technology, and scholars of Wittgenstein pay scant attention to remarks about technology in his work. This double neglect of (aspects of) Wittgenstein’s work is symptomatic of a more general gap between philosophy of language and philosophy of technology. This special issue of Techné: Research in Philosophy of Technology, entitled “Wittgenstein and Philosophy of Technology”, aims to close these gaps with innovative research papers that use Wittgenstein to conceptually develop existing investigations in philosophy of technology and/or to better understand and evaluate technologies in the 21st century.

Questions to be investigated will include, but are in no way limited to, the following:

  1. Is Ludwig Wittgenstein a “forgotten” classical author in the philosophy of technology? Can we read Wittgenstein’s works in a way that renders these works helpful to the philosophy of technology?

  2. Conversely, could current positions and concepts in the philosophy of technology furnish a criticism of Wittgenstein’s thought, a criticism perhaps underdeveloped in or absent from the established reception (positive or critical) of Wittgenstein’s works?

  3. Can Wittgenstein’s late reflections on use and forms of life add to, possibly even recitfy, current understandings of these notions in the philosophy of technology?

  4. What light, if any, does Wittgenstein’s personal engagement with the engineering profession (from his studies in Manchester to his Vienna forays into building technology) shed on his subsequent engagements with philosophy?

  5. What can we learn from Wittgenstein to better understand how we talk to machines and how machines talk to us (e.g. social robots)?

  6. How can we use Wittgenstein to better understand the cultural, social, and political dimensions of contemporary technosciences such as synthetic biology (e.g. usage of the word “life”)?

  7. Does Wittgenstein help us to understand connections between language and technology in the internet of things?

  8. Can a Wittgensteinian approach contribute to addressing the problem of how to communicate specialized disciplinary terminology in transdisciplinary research?

Contributors are invited to critically reflect on these and other issues from various (disciplinary) perspectives and in particular to ponder the two questions (1) of what philosophy of technology can learn from Wittgenstein, and (2) of philosophy of technology and language can be fruitfully linked.

Papers are expected to typically range between 6000 and 8000 words (including notes and references), prepared for blind review with no identifying references to you or your institution and accompanied by an abstract of no more than 300 words plus 4-6 key words. For detailed instructions please consult Techné’s submission guidelines at:

Please submit your paper to:

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