24 Works

Robot vs Worker

Taras Romanenko & Polina Shcherbinina
The word “robot” first appeared in 1920 in the play “R.U.R.” by Czech writer Karel Capek. Within a few years, the play was translated into more than 30 languages, contributing to the spread of the new term around the world. The word “robot” was preserved in almost all translations, one of the few exceptions being Alexei Tolstoy’s Russian adaptation entitled “Riot of the Machines” (1924). Although in Russian, as well as in Czech, there is...

The Construction of the Robot in Language and Culture, “Intercultural Robotics” and the “Third Robot Culture”

Lin Cheng
Robots are not only technological artifacts, but also elements of human culture. They play important roles such as being the double, replica, tool and companion of humans. The anthropomorphic characteristics of robots lead to philosophical thinking, linguistic and (inter-) cultural phenomena. Inspiration can be drawn from exploring how robots are imagined, defined, described, comprehended, constructed or misunderstood, and from observing the changing relationships between humans and robots from an intercultural and interdisciplinary perspective. For instance,...

You, Robot: on the Linguistic Construction of Artificial Others

Mark Coeckelbergh
How can we make sense of the idea of ‘personal’ or ‘social’ relations with robots? Starting from a social and phenomenological approach to human–robot relations, this paper explores how we can better understand and evaluate these relations by attending to the ways our conscious experience of the robot and the human–robot relation is mediated by language. It is argued that our talk about and to robots is not a mere representation of an objective robotic...

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...

The Grammars of AI: Towards a Structuralist and Transcendental Hermeneutics of Digital Technologies

Mark Coeckelbergh
After its rejection of the linguistic turn, influential strands in empirically-oriented philosophy of technology tend to neglect or are even hostile towards structuralist and transcendental approaches to technology. Drawing on Cassirer, Bourdieu, Wittgenstein, and Ricoeur, this article offers an account of the meaning of technologies that theorizes precisely those aspects of technology and shows what this hermeneutics means for understanding digital technologies such as AI and algorithmic data processing. It argues that a transcendental and...

Staging Notations

Danil Vyrypanov
The paper examines the possibility of recording performances by analysing more than 10 types of notations (Lorin, Beauchamps-Feuillet, Tomlinson, Saint-Leon, Stepanov, Zorn, Sutton, Benesh, Ivanov, Varpakhovsky, Schreyer, Nikritin, Eshkol-Wachman and others). The paper foregrounds methods of fixing movements and sounds in space and time and the ways in which iconic and symbolic signs are used. Difficulties and solutions are highlighted, such as the transmission of 3D motion, changes simultaneously in space and time, the recording...

Quipping Equipment: Apropos of Robots and Kantian Chatbots

Cheryce von Xylander
Robots, Bourdieu, Kant, and Sex – Coeckelbergh’s philosophy of technical assemblages has it all. This commentary considers his early work “on the linguistic construction of artificial others” in light of his later elaboration of a general theory of human-technology interaction. Coeckelbergh draws on “habitus”-theory, virtue ethics and a historically recontextualized Kantianism to propose nothing less than a new general moral philosophy for the technoscientific age. In so doing, he also conjures up something beguilingly elusive...

Response: Language and robots

Mark Coeckelbergh
Six commentaries on the paper “You, robot: on the linguistic construction of artificial others” articulate different points of view on the significance of linguistic interactions with robots. The author of the paper responds to each of these commentaries by highlighting salient differences. One of these regards the dangerously indeterminate notion of “quasi-other” and whether it should be maintained. Accordingly, the critical study of the linguistic aspects of human-robot relations implies a critical study of society...

Explicit and Implicit Components of Social and Technical Instruction

Irina Beliaeva
Instructions are increasingly part of our lives and become the subject of research by linguists, philosophers, political scientists, sociologists, and marketing professionals. Instructions not only regulate social aspects of our life, but also allow us to control technical systems and devices. Analysis of the explicit and implicit components of instructions provides knowledge about the types and functions of instructions, their direct and indirect impact on individuals and the human community at large. The paper takes...

Global-local Cultural Interactions in a Hyperconnected World

Irina Saltanovich
The article dwells upon the development and organization of new information relations and global-local cultural interactions. New social environment processes that encompass real and virtual life are being controlled by a complex set of digital instruments or interactive systems. The novel notion of a “hyperconnected” world is being discussed with its characteristics that lead to the transparency of human relations and the hyperopenness of society. There is a description of the growing importance of social...

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...

The Intellectual Turn and Cultural Transfer of “Humanoid Automata” from the Ancient World to the Enlightenment Era

Shijueshan Wu
This study examines the origin and development of the “android” in the Western world, from antiquity to the Enlightenment era. The manufacture of android automata is not only a technological advance, but also reveals an intellectual shift from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment, involving cultural transfers from different civilizations in ancient times. “Humanoid automata” offer an insight into medieval beliefs and practices as mechanical mimesis in the investigation of the relations between art and...

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,...

Affirming and Denying the Hybrid Character of Robots: Literary Investigations

Yue Li
The social relation between humans and robots can be observed through the words used in the human-robot verbal interaction (Coeckelbergh, 2011). This study reviews Mark Coeckelbergh’s theory in the literary context by regarding writing and co-writing as linguistic interaction between humans and robots. It argues that the fictional as well as documented real writing experiences reveal not only the intuitive but also the normative dimension of the language. Two works of contemporary literature involving linguistic...

Language and Robots: from Relations to Processes of Relations

Cathrine Hasse
The word „robot“ does not have a fixed meaning and human interactions with robots do not somehow bring it to the fore. Mark Coeckelbergh suggests as much when he presents linguistic interaction with robots as a process of becoming aware of a quasi-personal relation. A focus on material linguistic practices yields a very different story of shifting signifiers that are subject to human experiences of changing relations with robots. The material encounter with robots is...

The Blurring of the Boundaries between Humans and Robots is a Good Thing and a New Species would be Born: An Interview with Hiroshi Ishiguro

Hui Jiang, Lin Cheng & Hiroshi Ishiguro
The documentary Philosophy in the Age of Desire records a short encounter between Hiroshi Ishiguro and Markus Gabriel in 2018. Their exchange on the role of technology in human life, on the conception of human being, and other topics revealed noticeable differences between the German philosopher and the Japanese engineer. Four years later two separate interviews follow up on their conversation. In this interview, Hiroshi Ishiguro makes several points: First, there is no clear definition...

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...

Diverse Cultures, Universal Capacity: An Interview with Markus Gabriel

Yue Li & Markus Gabriel
The documentary Philosophy in the Age of Desire records a short encounter between Markus Gabriel and Hiroshi Ishiguro’s Geminoid in 2018. Their exchange on the role of technology in human life, on the conception of human being, and other topics revealed noticeable differences between the German philosopher and the Japanese engineer, but can these be interpreted as “cultural” differences? Four years later two separate interviews follow up on their conversation, This interview explores their differences...

Language of AI

Daria Bylieva
In the modern world human-robot relations, language plays a significant role. One used to view language as a purely human technology, but today language is being mastered by non-humans. Chatbots, voice assistants, embodied conversational agents and robots have acquired the capacity for linguistic interaction and often present themselves as humanoid persons. Humans begin to perceive them ambivalently as they would acknowledge an Other inside the make-believe of a game. Using artificial neural nets instead of...

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...

Do it Yourself at YouTube

Yegor Grom & Stepan Bytsan
Every person at least once in his life is faced with an instruction - a certain set of rules, which spells out how to use a household appliance, how to behave in a given situation, perform this or that type of work, and so on. It can be a multimodal text that describes the actions, the implementation of which should lead to a result. If earlier the text with illustrations served as the main form...

Instructing to and Instructing in: Two Paradigms of Instruction

Danka Radjenović
In my contribution, I appropriate the distinction made in English between “instructing to” and “instructing in” in order to differentiate between the mode of instruction characteristic of technical processes - instructing to - which is more akin to order and command, and a mode of instruction closer to teaching - instructing in. Talk of instruction covers a spectrum of cases, with the technological paradigm of “instructing to” being on the one end of the spectrum,...

Instructing Tacit Knowledge: Epistemologies of Sensory-Based Robotic Systems

Regina Wuzella
The article tries to outline the supposed precarity of the body (or body-bound knowledge) in the context of AI-based environments by re-negotiating the borders of formalizing material-based, cognitive and tacit knowledge in regards to the (robotic) gesture (of grasping). In the following, it will be a matter of tracing the epistemes underlying this simulation that relies on specific instructions, which is understood in this context as a specific rule or command and hence by nature...

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,...

Registration Year

  • 2022

Resource Types

  • Journal Article
  • Text


  • Technical University of Darmstadt
  • Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University
  • University of Vienna
  • Guangdong University of Foreign Studies
  • Heidelberg University
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • Capital Normal University
  • Sun Yat-sen University
  • Aarhus University
  • University of Koblenz and Landau