Att tänka det tekniska

En studie i Derridas teknikfilosofi

Omslag för Att tänka det tekniska: En studie i Derridas teknikfilosofi

Sjöstrand, Björn

How should we understand the relations between human beings and technology? Where does technology end and where does the human being begin? How should we understand the relation between thinking and technology? These and related questions have been increasingly salient during the last decades. The aim of this study is to provide an outline of a philosophy of technology in the work of a major contemporary philosopher: Jacques Derrida.   

The study is divided into seven chapters, each dealing thematically with a part of Derrida’s philosophy of technology. The opening chapter begins with an exposé of the way the question of technology has evolved historically. It argues that Derrida’s deconstructive thinking avoids many of the problems associated with earlier as well as contemporary approaches. The next chapter sketches the basic features of a coherent philosophy of technology, a deconstructive phenomenology of technology that enlarges the concept of technology to include the entire phenomenological field: technology is here not opposed to the psychical, it is rather a close relation between the psychical and the non-psychical, between life and death.

Life is always already contaminated with technology. Chapter three explores in some detail Derrida’s thesis that contemporary life is contaminated by what he calls a “gigantic tele-technological machine” including the media, the Internet, mobile systems, digital archives, etc. As is discussed in the following chapter, this contamination also has consequences for our experience of time. More than ever before, time is today produced artificially by the tele-technological machine that transforms our temporal experience. Chapter five suggests that also the ethical dimension in Derrida’s thinking is closely linked to technology. The main part of the chapter is devoted to three technological events of historic proportions: the electronic revolution, the hypothesis of a total nuclear war, and global terrorism, all of which require an urgent ethical response beyond current politics.

This ethico-political response is further elaborated in the subsequent chapter, dealing especially with Derrida’s radical thesis that the tele-technological machine will transform the concept of the political as we know it. According to this thesis, the ability of the new technologies to facilitate extremely rapid circulation of ideas, voices and images around the world will eventually erase the borders between nation states, a fact that will force us to think the political beyond politics. The final chapter on religion argues that Derrida’s provocative thoughts about the close link between religion and science, religion and technology, and religion and the media provide keys to a more comprehensive understanding of his thinking about the technical, if not of his thinking as a whole.

Huddinge : Södertörns högskola, 2015. 254 sidor.

ISBN 978-91-87843-32-7

Serie: Södertörn Philosophical Studies, 1651-6834 ; 17

Serie: Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations, 1652-7399 ; 111