Institute of Philosophy
Philosophy of Technology, (Post-)Phenomenology, Existentialism
Infrastructures as Structuring Practices (Working Title)
The aim of my dissertation is to analyze the mutual interaction, constitution and organization of human beings, society and materiality from a dialectical point of view towards large infrastructure systems. Sartre’s concepts of praxis and hexis are the theoretical foundations of my dissertation.
In his later work Critique of Dialectical Reason, Sartre considers praxis to be a transformative process in which human beings shape their surrounding material and immaterial conditions. But this practical engagement is not unidirectional. At the same time, the material and immaterial conditions in which human beings are situated in have significant impacts on the causation and actualization of human praxis. For Sartre, individual technologies and large technological systems are passive residuals of praxis. Their utilization limits and delimits various practical fields, i.e. spaces of possibility, while providing a certain inert structure for future use. Considering human praxis and technologies in this dialectical way helps to avoid both overly deterministic interpretations of technology and naive assumptions about the neutrality of technological artifacts.
Through ongoing practical engagements, a hexis, i.e. a disposition, is cultivated. Through this disposition individuals, social groups, and technologies are connected with each other in practical relations, that are kept stable in space and time. This is due to the fact that praxis is context-dependent and thus takes place in situations that are themselves partially constituted through the hexis.
Both the praxis that constitutes the hexis and the hexis itself will be focused in my dissertation. I illustrate my results with examples of transport and traffic infrastructures.
Müller, M. (2016). Neue Kriterien – neue Chance? Zum Abschlussbericht der Endlagerkommission. Forschungsjournal Soziale Bewegungen. Analyse zu Demokratie und Zivilgesellschaft, 4/16. 134 – 138.
Müller, M. (2017). The Urban Disposition. A Sartrean Framework for the Analysis of Urban Life. filosofia. Revista Da Faculdade de Letras, 34. 187 – 203. Link