20th conference of the Society for Philosophy and Technology, SPT 2017: The Grammar of Things

When we talk and think about technology, we are talking about ars and techne, artefacts and socio-technical systems – and always about putting things together, co-ordinating people and things. Seeking to understand, interpret, and knowingly inhabit the human-built world, we explore what works together, how to construct, engineer, compose, grow, plan, assemble, or design in appropriate, fitting, sustainable, and sociable ways.

These are questions of grammar: How do things work together in the motor of a car, in a public square, in a soap opera, in the painting of a historic scene, in a deliberative process? What are the principles of composition in a musical score or a computer program? How closely are things related in an ‘Internet of Things’? What sustains the operation of a concrete machine? Who acts when a law is enforced, a plan realized, a code compiled, a script executed? How do users become designers, how do scientists become engineers, how do artefacts become moral agents?

Such examinations of the grammar of things implicate epistemology, social imaginaries, and design ethics. They provoke analysis from the various traditions in philosophy of technology and seek to draw on contributions from history of technology, cultural studies, design theory, anthropology, art history, cognitive psychology, computer science, engineering education, and other fields.

Plenary Speakers

  • Pamela Andanda (Law, University of Witwatersrand)
  • Christian Bök (Poet, Charles Darwin University)
  • Sybille Krämer (Philosophy, Freie Universität Berlin)
  • Dagmar Schäfer (History of Science and China, Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte Berlin)
  • Astrid Schwarz (Philosophy, ETH Zurich)
  • George Stiny (Design and Computation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  • Shannon Vallor (Philosophy, Santa Clara University)

We welcome submissions of abstracts for individual papers, panels for three or four speakers, and proposals for mini-tracks consisting of several panels (if you are interested in organizing a thematic track, please contact the organizers ahead of time). 350-word abstracts for individual papers, 800-1000 word abstracts for panels should be submitted1. Enter abstracts and keywords in the space provided on the submissions page (treat panel proposals like multi-authored papers). Feel free to additionally include a pdf-version of your abstract.

In order to apply for a Graduate Student Paper Award (includes travel stipend) or the SPT Early Career Award (sponsored by Philosophy and Technology), please consult the conference website.

Conference Organizers:

  • Sabine Ammon ammon[at]tu-berlin.de
  • Alfred Nordmann nordmann[at]phil.tu-darmstadt.de
  • 1. https://easychair.org/account/signin.cgi?key=44192935.4REaYlkQYCIiowzN