Theorizing Technological Mediation: toward an empirical-philosophical theory of technology


Despite its explosive growth over the past decades, the philosophy of technology is in great need of an empirical-philosophical theory of technology. The objective of this project is to develop such a theory: a theory of technological mediation.

Building such a theory is a radical new step in the development of the ?postphenomenological? approach in philosophy of technology, which has developed over the past decades. A central element in postphenomenological studies is the phenomenon of technological mediation: technologies mediate the relations between human beings and the world. Various studies have tentatively analyzed such mediating roles, ranging from the role of the Mars explorer vehicle in the development of knowledge in astronomy to the role of sonography in moral decisions about abortion. Time has now come to develop the postphenomenological approach into a substantial theory of technology.

For this, we need to expand the existing approach. Until recently, the focus of postphenomenological research has been on technologies and their mediating roles in human-world relations. In order to understand the full dynamics of processes of mediation, though, we also need to focus on human beings, and understand how they appropriate and give meaning to technological mediations. To investigate these appropriations, the project will integrate elements of Conversation Analysis in the postphenomenological approach.

In order to develop a broad theory of mediation, the project will investigate the roles of technology in three dimensions of the relations between humans and world: knowledge, ethics, and metaphysics. This way, the theory of technological mediation will conceptualize and investigate how technologies help to shape human understandings of the world, normative actions and decisions, and metaphysical frameworks.
This combination of empirical and conceptual work to develop a theory of mediation will focus on imaging technologies and reproductive technologies, which all involve crucial epistemological, ethical, and metaphysical elements. How do imaging technologies reveal the fetus and the brain, and how does this inform our understanding of ourselves and our offspring? How do gender selection technologies reorganize moral and political frameworks and actions? How does the Google Glass project reorganize the character of public space and our understanding of the world and each other? And how do brain imaging technologies and reproductive technologies help to shape experiences of transcendence, reorganizing the boundaries between the given and the made, fate and responsibility?


Wetenschappelijk artikel

  • S Dorrestijn, M Van der Voort, PP Verbeek(2014): Future user-product arrangements Technological Forecasting and Social Change pp. 284 - 292 ISSN: 0040-1625.
  • C Aydin, PP Verbeek(2015): Transcendence in Technology Technè: Research in Philosophy and Technology pp. 291 - 313 ISSN: 1091-8264.
  • R Lanfredini, N Liberati, A Giannotta, E Pagni(2016): Introduction Humana Mente: Journal of Philosophical Studies pp. iii - xiii ISSN: 1972-1293.
  • PP Verbeek(2017): The Struggle for Technology Foundation of Science pp. 301 - 304 ISSN: 1572-8471.

Hoofdstuk in boek

  • PP Verbeek, L Floridi(2014): The Onlife Manifesto pp. 217 - 227 , Cham/Heidelberg/New York/Dordrecht/London
  • L Floridi, S Broadbent, N Dewandre, C Ess, J.G. Ganascia, M Hildebrandt, Y Laouris, C Lobet-Maris, S Oates, U Pagallo, J Simon, M Thorseth, PP Verbeek(2014): The Onlife Manifesto pp. 7 - 13 , Cham/Heidelberg/New York/Dordrecht/London
  • R Rosenberger, R Rosenberger, PP Verbeek, PP Verbeek(2015): Postphenomenological Investigations pp. 9 - 41 , London
  • R Rosenberger, R Rosenberger, PP Verbeek, PP Verbeek(2015): Postphenomenological Investigations pp. 1 - 6 , London
  • PP Verbeek, JK Berg Olsen Friis, RC Crease(2016): Technoscience and Postphenomenology pp. 189 - 204 , London
  • Y Van den Eede, N Liberati, S O'Neil Irwin, G Wellner(2017): Postphenomenology and Media pp. 63 - 77 , London

Boek of monografie

  • R Rosenberger, PP Verbeek(2015): Postphenomenological Investigations pp. 264 , London
  • PP Verbeek(2015): 技術の道徳化: 事物の道徳性を理解し設計する pp. 308 , Tokio
  • PP Verbeek(2016): 将技术道德化 pp. 217 , Shanghai

Professionele publicatie


  • Y Dröge Wendel, PP Verbeek(2014): Thinking from Things: Artistic Research meets Philosophy of Technology
  • PP Verbeek(2014): Moralizing Technology
  • PP Verbeek(2014): Theorizing Technological Mediation: Taking Technology to the Humanities
  • PP Verbeek(2014): The Ethics of Big Data
  • PP Verbeek(2014): Transcending Humanity
  • PP Verbeek(2014): The Limits of the Human: Posthumanism, Anthropology, and Morality
  • PP Verbeek(2014): Theorizing Technological Mediation
  • PP Verbeek(2014): Design for Society: understanding and evaluating the relations between humans and technologies
  • PP Verbeek(2014): Postphenomenology and technological mediation
  • PP Verbeek(2014): Zijn we 'Human after all'?
  • F De Jonge, PP Verbeek(2015): Technologie en transitie
  • PP Verbeek(2015): Technologie en Religie
  • O Kudina(2015): Technological mediation and morality. The case of Google Glass and privacy.
  • PP Verbeek(2015): Technology and Religion: transcendence and technological mediation
  • PP Verbeek(2015): Onderwijs en Technologie: over leerfabrieken en de fabricage van het leren
  • PP Verbeek(2015): The normativity of technological change
  • O Kudina(2015): Moral mediation approach for privacy “body multiple.” The cases of Google Glass and Microsoft HoloLens.
  • PP Verbeek(2015): E-health: zorgethiek en de technologisering van de zorg
  • J Hoek(2015): Fixing Human/Post-Human Enhancement theories?
  • PP Verbeek(2015): Theorizing Technological Mediation
  • B de Boer(2015): An Epistemology of Instruments: From Justified True Belief to Phenomenotechnique.
  • O Kudina(2015): Understanding multistabilities of privacy through moral mediation. The cases of Google Glass and Microsoft HoloLens.
  • PP Verbeek(2015): Rethinking the Morality of Things: moral mediation, mediated morality, and the ethics of technology
  • PP Verbeek(2015): Technology and the mediated self
  • O Kudina(2015): How does technology mediate morality? Google Glass in (re)shaping social practices.
  • PP Verbeek(2015): The politics of smart cities: the technological mediation of public life
  • PP Verbeek, Y Dröge Wendel(2015): Philosophy from Things
  • O Kudina(2015): Context-sensitive ethics of emerging technologies. The case of targeted drug delivery.
  • PP Verbeek(2015): The boundaries of the human: why the human enhancement debate needs more philosophy of technology
  • PP Verbeek(2015): Google Glass to Sex Selection Chips: Moral Mediation and the Ethics of Technology
  • PP Verbeek(2015): Digital Enlightenment and Technological Mediation: Technologies of the Self in a Digital Age
  • PP Verbeek(2015): workshop Onderwijs en Technologie
  • PP Verbeek(2015): Taking technology to the humanities
  • PP Verbeek(2015): Reframing Design
  • PP Verbeek(2015): Technologies of Care: On Human-Technology Relations and the Ethics of Care
  • O Kudina(2015): Anticipating the ethical dimension of nanomedicine via technomoral scenarios. The case of targeted drug delivery.
  • PP Verbeek(2015): 10 propositions about the social role of the university
  • B de Boer(2016): Disclosing Scientific Objects
  • PP Verbeek(2016): Design Beyond the Human: Interaction Design, Robots, and Mediation Theory
  • PP Verbeek(2016): The Ethics of Drones and Self-Driving cars: unmanned systems and human-technology relations
  • B de Boer(2016): The Perspective of the Instruments: Mediating Intersubjectivity
  • PP Verbeek(2016): Sapiens ex Machina: On Human-Robot Relations
  • O Kudina(2016): Technological considerations for hermeneutic circle. The case study of Google Glass.
  • PP Verbeek(2016): Thinking Through Technological Things: Theorizing Technological Mediation
  • PP Verbeek(2016): Sapiens ex machina: towards an anthropology of human‐robot relations
  • PP Verbeek(2016): Expanding the ethics of design: from value sensitive design to moral mediation
  • PP Verbeek(2016): Moral Mediation and Responsible Design
  • O Kudina(2016): Technologically mediated morality, ethics and design. The case of privacy and Google Glass.
  • J Hoek(2016): The technological mediation of Brain Death criteria
  • J Hoek(2016): How Technology Mediates Limit-Situations
  • B de Boer(2016): Making and Observing Scientific Phenomena
  • O Kudina(2016): Exploring the value multistabilities with the moral mediation approach. The cases of Google Glass and Microsoft HoloLens.
  • O Kudina(2016): To select or not to select? This is not the question.
  • J Hoek(2016): Technocyphers of Transcendence”,
  • J Hoek(2016): A Postphenomenology of Life in the Making
  • O Kudina(2016): Towards user awareness of privacy “body multiple.” The cases of Google Glass and Microsoft HoloLens.
  • J Hoek(2016): The technological Status of Brain-Death criteria
  • PP Verbeek(2016): Drones: Responsible Flying Robots?
  • B de Boer(2016): Scientific Observation: A Mediation Perspective.
  • PP Verbeek(2016): Mediated Morality
  • PP Verbeek(2016): Socializing Materiality: Mediation Theory and the Social Life of Things
  • B de Boer(2016): Technology’s Non-Neutrality
  • PP Verbeek(2016): Technologies beyond the Human?
  • B de Boer, J Hoek(2016): The Technological Determination of Brain Death Criteria
  • PP Verbeek(2016): Moral mediation and the ethics of technology
  • PP Verbeek(2016): Postphenomenological Research: Technologies, Robots, and Human Identity
  • PP Verbeek(2016): Sapiens Ex Machina: Anthropology of Human-Robot Relations
  • PP Verbeek(2016): Drone Hermeneutics: The Mediated Morality of Remote Action and Perception
  • PP Verbeek(2016): Ethics by Design? On Value Sensitive Design and Moral Mediation
  • PP Verbeek(2016): Designing Well-being at Work? The Ethics of Behavior-Influencing Technology
  • N Liberati(2017): Facing the digital partner. A phenomenological analysis of the digital otherness
  • PP Verbeek(2017): Moralizing Technology: on moral mediation, mediated morality, and value sensitive design
  • PP Verbeek, F Kaayk, K Van Mensvoort(2017): On the Origin of Androids
  • PP Verbeek(2017): On Populism and Disruptive Technologies: Academic Communication in the 21st Century
  • PP Verbeek, R De Jong, D Baten, W Koopal(2017): MOOC Philosophy of Technology and Design
  • J Hoek(2017): Why the Atom Bomb did not Bring about World Peace”
  • PP Verbeek(2017): Robots as Mediators: On the Ethics and Anthropology of Human-Robot Relations
  • B de Boer(2017): Bachelard and the Artificiality of Scientific Phenomena
  • PP Verbeek(2017): Technologies of Transcendence: On the technological mediation of the sacred





Prof. dr. ir. P.P.C.C. Verbeek

Verbonden aan

Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen


Drs. J.P. Bergen, Drs. B.E. de Boer, Drs. J. Hoek, Drs. O. Kudina, Dr. N.L. Liberati, Prof. dr. ir. P.P.C.C. Verbeek


01/07/2014 tot 01/08/2019