Author: Martin Ritter
Publication Date: 2023
Publication Name: Foundations of Science
Technologies are undeniably having a decisive, transformative impact on Earth, yet the currently prevailing empirically orientated approaches in the philosophy of technology seem unable to get to conceptual grips with this fact. Some thinkers have therefore been trying to develop alternative methods capable of clarifying it. This paper focuses on Vincent Blok's call for rehabilitating an ontologically oriented approach. It reconstructs the rationale of his method as well as its key elements and structure. Elucidating Blok's emphasis on the experience of climate change, the paper clarifies his call for a terrestrial turn in the philosophy of technology. This turn is indisputably needed, but Blok's conceptualisation of Earth is problematic: Apart from its speculative nature, it underestimates the impact of humans on Earth. Blok seeks to clarify how ontic phenomena, especially particular technologies, can have an ontological impact, but there is a friction between his Heideggerian concept of the world as grounding inner-worldly beings and the idea of technologies as founding a new world. Identifying the elements where the undoubtedly required ontological approach needs to be rethought, the paper suggests that we need more mundane conceptualisations of both Earth and the world, accompanied by more attention to ontic processes.
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This project receives funding from the Horizon EU Framework Programme under Grant Agreement No. 101086898.