Peter-Paul Verbeek: What Things Do: Philosophical Reflections on Technology, Agency, and Design (2000/2005)

12 June 2011, dusan

“Our modern society is flooded with all sorts of devices: TV sets, automobiles, microwaves, mobile phones. How are all these things affecting us? How can their role in our lives be understood? What Things Do answers these questions by focusing on how technologies mediate our actions and our perceptions of the world.

Peter-Paul Verbeek develops this innovative approach by first distinguishing it from the classical philosophy of technology formulated by Jaspers and Heidegger, who were concerned that technology would alienate us from ourselves and the world around us. Against this gloomy and overly abstract view, Verbeek draws on and extends the work of more recent philosophers of technology like Don Ihde, Bruno Latour, and Albert Borgmann to present a much more empirically rich and nuanced picture of how material artifacts shape our existence and experiences. In the final part of the book Verbeek shows how his “postphenomenological” approach applies to the technological practice of industrial designers.

Its systematic and historical review of the philosophy of technology makes What Things Do suitable for use as an introductory text, while its innovative approach will make it appealing to readers in many fields, including philosophy, sociology, engineering, and industrial design.”

Originally published in Dutch as De daadkracht der dingen: Over techniek, filosofie en vormgeving by Boom Publishers, Amsterdam, 2000
Translated by Robert P. Crease
Publisher Pennsylvania State University Press, 2005
ISBN 0271025395, 9780271025391
264 pages


PDF (updated on 2021-8-16)

3 Responses to “Peter-Paul Verbeek: What Things Do: Philosophical Reflections on Technology, Agency, and Design (2000/2005)”

  1. sorin on June 3, 2013 10:50 am

    the same. link no good!!!!

  2. Framji on August 14, 2021 8:30 pm

    Hi Dusan, this link is kaput. A working link, if possible, would be great. Thanks

  3. dusan on August 16, 2021 7:45 am


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