[Humanist] 26.582 coevolution

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri Dec 14 07:04:50 CET 2012

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 582.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2012 13:59:04 +0100
        From: "Dr. Hartmut Krech" <kr538 at zfn.uni-bremen.de>
        Subject: Re:  26.576 coevolution
        In-Reply-To: <20121213083347.6E53DF85 at digitalhumanities.org>

Willard seems to lay a finger on the wound of coevolution
in that this term presupposes the interaction between two 
separate species that will react by coadaptation. Are 
"humans" and "machines" (the original question) separate 
species and can we attribute intentionality to machines 
beyond the metaphoric sphere? Haines Brown and Wendell Piez 
with their "use-centered approach" to view humans and 
machines as "things" seem to point into the direction of an 
ontological, especially cognitive, solution ('"Dinge" are entities that 
we can think of' Johannes Clauberg, 1660s). Will that be 
sufficient to save human freedom in the face of human products?

To add just a little spice to your interesting discussion, 
please allow me to quote from a highly readable book, 
treating the subject of technology within an unusually 
far-ranging field of view: "Much of what is written on the 
history of technology is for boys of all ages. This book is 
a history for grown-ups of all genders. We have lived with 
technology for a long time, and collectively we know a lot 
about it. [...] Yet too often the agenda for discussing the 
past, present and future of technology is set by the 
promoters of new technologies." (David Edgerton: Shock Of 
The Old: Technology and Global History since 1900. London: 
Profile Books, 2006. ISBN 9781861973061).

Best regards,
Hartmut Krech

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