Essays in Post-Critical Philosophy of Technology

Mihály Héder, Eszter Nádasi (Eds.)

by Hakob Barseghyan , Mihály Héder (Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BUTE), Hungary), Eszter Nádasi (Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BUTE), Hungary), Maxim Mirkin , László Ropolyi , Phil Mullins (Missouri Western State University), Jacopo G. Bodini , Anna Caterina Dalmasso , Alexandra Karakas , Balázs Horváth , Péter Neuman , Dániel Gergő Pintér , Ákos Gyarmathy

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The essays in this volume explore technology not simply as applied science, but as a semi-autonomous force in human practice and in social evolution. The philosophical approaches to technology of Michael Polanyi and Albert Borgmann are featured in many of the essays. Polanyi’s concept of post-critical philosophy unites the essays. Post-critical thought roots technological development in fallible goal-centered tacit embodiment. Thus reliance on foundational thinking and explicit theories of technological causality are rejected. Among the topics thoughtfully explored are the disruptive explanatory impact of digital computers that learn, the epistemology of engineering, the embodied linkage of technical and aesthetic thought, metaphysical analysis of screens, whether technological aids in painting should affect aesthetic judgment, how hyperreality can constrict choice, the opacity of technological equipment as a producer of crisis, and how uncertainty in judgment affects automatic decision support systems. The essays thus deal with issues at the forefront of discussion in the philosophy of technology and its social impact.

Walter Gulick
Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Humanities and Religious Studies
Montana State University Billings

Technology, in all its forms, has had and continues to have an indisputable impact on society and culture. Philosophy of technology seeks to understand this impact and the meaning of technology for society and culture. Although its origins can be traced back to the Greeks, it wasn’t until the late 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century that it gained ground as a philosophical discipline. Now more than ever it is considered an essential philosophical enterprise.
‘The Budapest Workshop on Philosophy of Technology’ was a lively and successful event that sought to discuss, reflect on and apply this branch of philosophical inquiry to both historical and contemporary examples. Importantly, the contributors’ methodological approaches were influenced by, although not limited to, Michael Polanyi’s term ‘post-critical’. Moving beyond the rigidity of past approaches, the selected essays were driven by two lines of inquiry, what has been the historical role of technology in social and scientific change? And, how can a ‘post-critical’ approach enhance and extend our understanding of philosophy of technology?
This edited volume begins by exploring the role of technology in social and scientific developments from a historical perspective, before moving towards a discussion of philosophy of technology from a ‘Post-Critical’ epistemic stance. Free from the constraints of previous methodologies, the third part of this work engages with the term ‘Post-Critical’ in its broadest sense. The contributors to this section consider the phenomenology of the body and the influence of technology on our lives. Finally, the four concluding chapters of this book apply this philosophical approach to a wide range of contemporary problems from Decision Support Systems to Crisis Communication.


Part I - The Role of Technology
Chapter 1 Essays on The Role of Technology
Chapter 2 The Role of Technological Knowledge in Scientific Change
Chapter 3 Technology as an Aspect of Human Praxis

Part II - Post-Critical Philosophy of Technology
Chapter 4 Essays on Post-Critical Philosophy of Technology
Chapter 5 Michael Polanyi on Machines as Comprehensive Entities
Chapter 6 Michael Polanyi and the Epistemology of Engineering
Part III - Aesthetic Approaches
Chapter 7 Essays on Aesthetic Approaches
Chapter 8 The Screen: a Body Without Organs
Chapter 9 Techno-Aesthetics and Technics of the Body From Merleau-Ponty to Simondon and Back

Part IV - Applications of Philosophy on Technology
Chapter 10 Essays on Applications of Philosophy on Technology
Chapter 11 Did Mirrors Determine Caravaggio?
Chapter 12 Nudging for Hyperreality: A Philosophical Study of Technological Choice Architectures
Chapter 13 Technology-based Critical Phenomena: a Borgmannian Approach of Crisis Prediction
Chapter 14 The Problem of Undermined Evidence: Accurate Entitlement for Epistemic Systems in Automatic Decision Support Systems


Dr. Mihály Héder, PhD, graduated as a software engineer from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics in 2009. In the interest of broadening his horizons, in 2014 he completed a PhD in History and Philosophy of Science. As an Associate Professor at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BUTE), Mihály teaches Research Methodology, Science and Technology Studies, Economics, and Philosophy of Technology. He was awarded distinguished lecturer for the 2014/15 academic year. Notably, Mihály is also engaged in researching the power of humanities for people with a STEM background.

Eszter Nádasi is an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Communication at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BUTE). Since 2014 Eszter has given classes in both the Department of Sociology and Communication and in the Department of Philosophy and History of Science. According to the “Education Quality Survey” (OHV), she was among the 100 best teachers at BUTE in 2016-2017. In 2016 she finished her studies at the BUTE Doctoral School of Philosophy and History of Science, during which time she also earned two fellowships with the Julius Rézler Foundation. As well as a career as an academic, Eszter has also worked for several prestigious magazines and has received awards for her journalism from the Tamás Szegő Foundation in 2012 and 2017, respectively.

Philosophy of Technology, Epistomology of Technology, Ontology in Technology, Borgmann, Feenberg, Polanyi

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Essays in Post-Critical Philosophy of Technology





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm

Publication date
May 2019