14 Works

The Quasi-Other as a Sobject

Larissa Ullmann
This comment on Mark Coeckelbergh’s text “You, robot: on the linguistic construction of artificial others” is about the concrete use of linguistic terms to describe the technical other, the robot, and its relationship to humans. There are many characteristics that a robot can have that are very similar to humans and interpersonal relations, but they are not human, they are quasi-human. This phenomenon is, amongst others, constructed and interpreted linguistically, but on the other hand,...

The Grammar of Things

Alfred Nordmann
This essay for the inaugural issue of Technology and Language programmatically proposes that „technology“ and „language“ are two sides of the same coin and that one cannot talk about one without the other. Everyone agrees that technology cannot be defined as the application of science to the engineering of specific devices. Instead, it includes all the ways in which homo faber has always worked to transform the naturally given world into a technosphere. And everyone...

Infinity: Divine Paradigm

Chandrima Christiansen
“In the Beginning was the Word” provides the biblical reference to the word ‘Word,’ and ‘Infinity’ touches upon the traditional philosophical conventions that refer to God as the ‘Infinite’ and the creations of God as the ‘finites.’ Infinity as a technical artefact, engages the mind with its abstractness and metaphorical rendition as in Basic Metaphor of Infinity (BMI), but also with its concreteness as in programming, modelling and topography. ‘Infinity’ as a concept and as...

The Body, the Soul, the Robot: 21st-Century Monism

Kevin Liggieri & Marco Tamborini
The thesis we will defend in the following pages is twofold. First, we indicate two linguistic-cultural turning points in the concept of the robot. The introduction of the body and the soul in the machine has paved the way towards new technical and epistemic possibilities and, thus, it has granted a new conceptual definition of robot. Second, we propose a return to Descartes as a starting point for a reinterpretation and redefinition of the concept...

Program and Code

Reiner Hähnle
The nature of computer programs can be characterized from two different viewpoints: as executable artifacts that create signals on a computing device or as pure mathematical objects with a rigorous, unambiguous semantics. To distinguish both usages I use the word “code” for the first and “program” for the second. This distinction is relevant to avoid confusion when discussing notions such as validity or correctness of software. The point is illustrated by refuting a well-known claim...

Instructing Technology, Technological Instruction: Editorial Introduction

Jens Geisse & Marcel Siegler
The term instruction is multi-layered and used in completely different contexts – from printed user manuals, over explicitly uttered verbal directives to the implicit teaching of forms of conduct by exemplifying them. This issue collects contributions that explore instructions from a philosophical perspective on the relationship between language and technology. The following editorial introduces these contributions and identifies connections between them. Although the contributions in this special issue explore the term instruction from different angles,...

Plurilingual School and University Curricula

Schlabach Joachim & Britta Hufeisen
This contribution introduces plurilingual curricula as a development tool geared both to linking up the curricula of individual languages and fostering cross-linkages between language and content subject curricula. This approach represents a solid fundament for tertiary language didactics and can also supply a common foundation for school and university language learning policies and relevant school-university cooperation projects. The principle underlying (genuinely!) plurilingual university courses based on research and featuring a doubly multilingual didactic approach is...

Good Engineering Design - Design Evolution by Languages

Peter Pelz
This essay for the inaugural issue of Technology and Language shows that the mastery of multiple languages is the enabler for good engineering design. Engineers express ideas and for that they need expressive design languages. If a language is a structured system of symbols serving communication, the languages of engineering include German, English, and Russian, mathematical and programming languages, technical drawing and formal modelling, with abstract design elements constituting a further, engineering-specific language. The semantics...

Visualizing the Composition: A Method for Mapping Inscription and Instruction

Yingyu Zhu
How are instructions mediated by technical artifacts? What role does technology play? From a Latourian perspective, these questions have to do with composition. The purpose of this article is to review Latour’s approach to Science and Technology Studies (STS) and, more specifically, to review and assess his visualization practices. According to Latour, science and technology are not two separated domains. Scientific facts are obtained through cascades of mediation of heterogenous components, and the manufacture and...

Teaching English as a Language for Mechanical Engineering

Eduard Krylov, Liudmila Khalyapina & Alfred Nordmann
Engineering education usually includes the acquisition of a foreign language for a transnational professional discourse. Engineering education also involves the acquisition of competencies to compose functional technical systems from component parts. This paper provides a conceptual and empirical exploration of a synergistic effect between these two learning processes. It proposes that engineering education draw upon and incorporates this synergy. A pilot training course confirms that this leads to a faster development of the overall engineering...

In the Beginning was the Word

Alfred Nordmann & Daria Bylieva
The problem of modernity haunts the Western tradition of philosophy and moves us from disenchantment and disempowerment of the word to its reenchantment. If critical reasoning exorcised the magic power of the word, technological achievements of control reinstated it. More straightforwardly, perhaps, Russian thought traditionally viewed the word as a "technical" or "magical" artifact capable of changing the world. In the beginning was God‘s word but are also the words which open the world of...

First and Last Things: The Signatures of Visualization-Artists

Alfred Nordmann
Nanotechnology began for real when Don Eigler and Erhard Schweizer used 35 xenon-atoms to spell the name of their sponsor “IBM.” The resulting image has since been called “The Beginning” and, indeed, physical processes at the molecular level have since been used countless times to write the names of laboratories and sponsors and sometimes logos (including, of course, the White House and the American Flag). Indeed, when we conquer new territory, we tend to mark...

Politics of Usernames

Matthias Hess
We interact with usernames every day to communicate on the Internet. We are so familiar with this practice that it seems banal and we therefore fail to see the political implications associated with it. This article aims to help uncover this political dimension of the username. At first, the article follows the argumentation of two texts by Jacques Derrida, from where I establish a connection between the phenomena of proper names and usernames. Derrida deconstructed...

On Talkwithability. Communicative Affordances and Robotic Deception

Leon Pezzica
This paper operates within Mark Coeckelbergh’s framework of the linguistic construction of robots. Human-robot relations are conceptualised as affordances which are linguistically mediated, being shaped by both the linguistic performances surrounding human-robot interaction as well as the robot’s characteristics. If the robot signifies the affordance of engaging in human-human-like conversation (talkwithability), but lacks the real affordance to do so, the robot is to be thought of as deceptive. Robot deception is therefore a question of...

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