CFP Workshop „Wittgenstein and Philosophy of Technology“

DATE        13 March 2017

VENUE     TBA, Vienna, Austria



Langdon Winner, Department of Science and Technology Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, USA

Alfred Nordmann, Institute of Philosophy, TU Darmstadt, Germany



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 workshop aims to close these gaps with presentations and discussions 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 discussed 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?



A limited number of slots is available for non-invited papers.

Please send a 500 words abstract by 1 February 2017 to if you want to be considered for inclusion in the workshop.



Registration to attend is free but obligatory.

For registration and organizational issues contact Agnes Buchberger



Philosophy of Media & Technology, University of Vienna, Austria ( and University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, USA

Prof. Mark Coeckelbergh ( and )

Michael Funk ( and

Dr. Stefan Koller (


This workshop is funded by the Chair of Philosophy of Media and Technology (Univ.-Prof. Dr. Mark Coeckelbergh), the Department of Philosophy, and the Faculty of Philosophy and Education, University of Vienna.

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