Research Themes

Human being: below and above reason

The impact of technology on our lives

Our human way of being is being heavily marked and transformed by technology. In the case of mundane products we tend to take this for granted without much consideration. In other cases, like for example emergent e-paying systems in public transport, there is a lot of concern about the loss of privacy and freedom. Understanding of, and coping with the influences of technology is therefore an important and challenging task for design as well as for governance and ethics. In my PhD thesis I have developed a model and repertoire of exemplary effects of technology on humans. Also I studied social engagement in the history of (utopian) design and I developed a design tool that helps to apply product impact for socially responsible design today.

Technical mediation and subjectivation

Regarding ethics my research has focused on the practices of how new technologies are accommodated in people’s way of living, how technologies become literally embodied, or part of people’s gestural routines. How do people experience the influences of technology and how does this affects their experience of agency, freedom and the self? This research on “technical mediation and subjectivation” brings together philosophy, anthropology and design. The resulting perspective on the evaluation of new technologies in people’s everyday practices is a much needed complement to theoretical approaches in ethics. And at the same time it is helpful for user centered design to improve product usability and acceptation as well as to advance socially responsible design.

Human being: Below and above reason

At present I pursue my research in two directions, in the frame of "below and above reason", or of "conditions and aspirations". These are two ways of approaching the human being at the margins of the rationalist focus of the modern West. The first direction extends my practice oriented research on the impact of technology on human existence, and also entails a further research theme of anthropology in relation to medical care. The second direction follows up on my work about redefining ethics with reference to the concept of style rather than to universal rational law-like principles.