Postphenomenology, Technoscience and Hermeneutics

September 4, 2023 - September 7, 2023
Department of Philosophy, University of Tartu

Jakobi 2
Tartu 51005


  • Estonian Research Council


Georgia Institute of Technology


University of Tartu

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This workshop will serve as a deep introduction to the “postphenomenological” school of thought, connecting it to issues of hermeneutics and technoscience.  We’ll explore postphenomenological theory, and consider the ways that human-technology relations are conceived under this perspective.  With its specialization in the deep description of how technologies are experienced, this workshop will explore the nature of human bodily perception, habituation, and experiential space.  In its connection to pragmatist philosophy, the postphenomenological perspective strives to build theory through concrete case studies.  In this spirit, this workshop will include the analysis of many specific aspects of our contemporary technological situation, from image interpretation in the laboratory, to the nature of reading text onscreen, to the use of simulations in educational settings, to the politics of public spaces, to the phenomenon of “phantom vibrations” (i.e., the hallucination that your phone had vibrated in your pocket).      

Seminars take place every day at 10:00–13:30, and public lectures on September 4–6 at 16:00–18:00. On September 6, seminars are replaced by practical work in Tartu Observatory.

Schedule of the public lectures:

  • 4 Sept “The Philosophy of User Interface: On Smartphones and Driver Distraction”
  • 5 Sept “Philosophy of Technology and the Control of Public Space”
  • 6 Sept “How Scientists ‘Read’ Images: The Technological Mediation of the Mars Global Surveyor”

Robert Rosenberger is an Associate Professor of Philosophy in the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and he serves as President of the Society for Philosophy and Technology ( His work advances the “postphenomenological” theoretical perspective. These investigations include studies on the driving impairment of smartphones, frog dissection simulations in the classroom, and the use of imaging technologies in neurobiology and space science. His 2017 book "Callous Objects" uses ideas from the philosophy of technology to criticize the ways that public spaces are built to discriminate against the homeless.

Main Course Materials, to be read through beforehand:
Rosenberger, R. & P.-P. Verbeek. (2015). “A Field Guide to Postphenomenology.” In R. Rosenberger & P.-P. Verbeek (eds.), Postphenomenological Investigations: Essays on Human-Technology Relations. Lanham: Lexington Books, pp. 9-41.

Rosenberger, R. (2017). Callous Objects: Designs Against the Homeless. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, ch. 1-3.

Rosenberger, R. (2020). “A Preliminary Inventory of the Transformations of Scientific Imaging.” Acta Baltica Historiae et Philosophiae Scientarium. 8(2): 21-37.

Ihde, D. (1998). Expanding Hermeneutics: Visualism in Science. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, Part 4: pp. 134-198.

Supplementary Material:
Ihde, D. (2009). Postphenomenology & Technoscience: The Peking University Lectures. Albany: SUNY Press, ch. 2.

Hasse, C. (2013). “Artifacts That Talk: Mediating Technologies as Multistable Signs and Tools.” Subjectivity. 6(1): 79-100.

Warfield, K. (2017). “MirrorCameraRoom: The Gendered Multi-(In)Stabilities of the Selfie.” Feminist Media Studies. 17(1): 77-92.  

Kudina, Olya. 2021. "'Alexa, Who Am I?': Voice Assistants and Hermeneutic Lemniscate as Technologically Mediated Sense-Making." Human Studies. 44: 233-253.

Aagaard, J. (2015). “Drawn to Distraction: A Qualitative Study of Off-Task Use of Educational Technology.” Computers & Education. 87: 90-97.

Rosenberger, R. (2013). “Mediating Mars: Perceptual Experience and Scientific Imaging Technologies.” Foundations of Science. 18: 75-91.

Participation is free.

Announcement of the selection process: 6 August 2023.

A limited number of travel bursaries will be available for students from abroad.

It is also possible to participate in public lectures September 4–6 at 16:00–18:00 without registration.

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July 29, 2023, 11:45pm +03:00

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