Pragmatist Aesthetics and the Experience of Technology

In Anders Buch & Theodore Schatzki (eds.), Questions of Practice in Philosophy and Social Theory. New York, NY, USA: pp. 114-135 (2018)
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Abstract: For most people, mobile phones and various forms of personal information technology (PIT) have become standard equipment for everyday life. Recent theorists such as Sherry Turkle raise psychological and philosophical questions about the impact of such technologies and practices, but deeper further philosophical work is needed. This paper takes a pragmatic approach to examining the effects of PIT practices upon experience. After reviewing several main issues with technology raised by Communication theorists, the paper looks more deeply at Turkle’s analysis of technology's impacts upon solitude and conversation. Because Turkle only raises but doesn’t pursue the philosophical dimensions of these issues, the work on experience of John Dewey, William James, and John J. McDermott is utilized to provide concepts and methods by which PIT’s effects might be judged. Finally, pragmatist aesthetics is introduced and consulted as a source of constructive ideals which might guide future amelioration of PIT’s more significant drawbacks.

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David L. Hildebrand
University of Colorado Denver


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