Don Ihde (/ /; born 1934) is an American philosopher of science and technology, and a post-phenomenologist. In 1979 he wrote what is often identified as the first North American work on philosophy of technology, Technics and Praxis. Ihde is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Ihde is the author of thirteen original books and the editor of many others. Recent examples include Chasing Technoscience (2003), edited with Evan Selinger; Bodies in Technology (2002); Expanding Hermeneutics: Visualism in Science (1998); and Postphenomenology (1993). Ihde lectures and gives seminars internationally and some of his books and articles have appeared in a dozen languages. He is currently working on Imaging Technologies: Plato Upside Down.
Role of bodies in cyberspace
Ihde's Bodies in Technology spells out the original exploration of the ways cyberspace affects the human experience. The book is useful to those research scholars who are exploring the role of bodies in the virtual reality. The book is the study of embodiment in cyberspace, an ideal book also related to human–computer interaction (HCI); Ihde explores the meaning of bodies in technology, that how the sense of our bodies and our orientation in the world is affected by various form of information technologies. The research of Ihde is important to humanist scholars because it provokes a new approach to study how to use and integrate computers and technologies for the humanity. In a recent paper, "Was Heidegger prescient concerning Technoscience?", Ihde re-examines Martin Heidegger's philosophy of science with a reappraisal of what was innovative, and what remained archaic. Heidegger then is read against the background of the "new" approaches to science in science studies, and against the background of the scientific revolutions which have occurred since the mid-20th century.
Technoscience Research Seminar
Ihde is the Director of the Technoscience Research Group in the Philosophy Department. He directs an ongoing graduate and post-graduate research seminar which brings notable scholars for "roasts," which reads only living authors.
The study of technoscience examines cutting-edge work in the fields of the philosophies of science and technology, and science studies; it also emphasizes the roles of our material cultures and expertise.
The seminar participants read only living authors (such as Donna Haraway, Bruno Latour, Ian Hacking, Andrew Pickering, Sandra Harding, etc.) and occasionally Ihde has invited other authors to the seminar on technoscience for a "roast" (roastees have included Peter Galison, Hubert Dreyfus, Albert Borgmann, Andrew Feenberg, and Harry Collins). The seminar on technoscience has already resulted in a number of publications related to its activities and participants regularly present research results at major international conferences (Aarhus, Denmark; Vienna, Austria; CERN, Switzerland, etc.).
On the issues of Hermeneutics from the Phenomenological Perspective Ihde examines what might he called a "material hermeneutics," which characterizes much practice within the domains of technoscience. Ihde rejects the vestigial Diltheyan division between the humanistic and natural sciences and argues that certain types of critical interpretation, broadly hermeneutic, characterize both sets of disciplines. Ihde examines what he calls a style of interpretation based in material practices relating to imaging technologies which have given rise to the visual hermeneutics in technoscience studies. Veszprém, 1993, it was at that meeting that Ihde first proposed the notion of Expanding hermeneutics.
Abstract of Ihde's Sheffield paper on Material Hermeneutics, 2006:
- A material hermeneutics is a hermeneutics which "gives things voices where there had been silence, and brings to sight that which was invisible." Such a hermeneutics in natural science can best be illustrated by its imaging practices. The objects of this visual hermeneutics were not texts nor linguistic phenomena, but things which came into vision through instrumental magnifications, allowing perception to go where it had not gone before. One could also say that a visual hermeneutics is a perceptual hermeneutics with a perception which while including texts, goes beyond texts. This local history gives but a small glimpse of the directions Ihde tried to outline in Expanding Hermeneutics. Such material hermeneutics are doubly material—first, in the sense that the objects being investigated are material entities—paramecia, extra-geocentric satellites, and eventually even the chemical make-up of the stars—but also it is material in the sense that the instruments being used to 'bring close' such phenomena are also material entities, technologies, by which and through which the natural sciences are embodied.
- In Expanding Hermeneutics I outlined both a weak program of hermeneutics in natural science, that is, a program of actual and extant practices which can best be understood as hermeneutic practices, and a strong program which was more prescriptive, suggesting ways to radicalize a material hermeneutics. In part the trajectory of expanding hermeneutics comes from much that I have learned from the new versions of interdisciplinary "science studies," which include the strands of the new sociologies of science, feminist critiques of science, and the varieties of philosophy of science which emphasize praxis, instruments, and laboratories over sheer theory production, all under which he now title "technoscience studies." I developed a sensitivity to the ways in which our instruments, technologies operate in hermeneutic ways.
- Experimental Phenomenology: An Introduction (1977)
- Technics and Praxis: A Philosophy of Technology (1979)
- Hermeneutic Phenomenology: The Philosopher of Paul Ricoeur (1980)
- Consequences of Phenomenology (1986)
- Technology and the Lifeworld: From Garden to Earth (1990)
- Postphenomenology: essays in the postmodern context (1993)
- Philosophy of Technology: An Introduction (1998)
- Expanding Hermeneutics: Visualism in Science (1999)
- Bodies in Technology (2002)
- Chasing Technoscience (2003)
- Experimental Phenomenology: Multistabilities (2012)
- Paul T. Durbin „Philosophy of technology: in search of discourse synthesis“, Technè: Research in Philosophy and Technology 10:2, Winter 2006, pp. 95–96: "Don Ihde's Technics and Praxis is the first full-scale philosophical analysis of technology by an American to appear in English"
- "Material Hermeneutics", presented at "A Symmetrical Archaeology, TAG 2005" symposium.
- Evan Selinger, Postphenomenology: A Critical Companion to Ihde, SUNY Press, 2006.
- Ihde's home page at at Stony Brook University.
- Book symposium on "Expanding Hermeneutics".(Requires Springer registration)
- Ihde discusses postphenomenology.
- Interview with Don Ihde, May 2003.
- Interview (audio) with Ihde, March 2006.
- A festschrift on Ihde.
- Ihde on Listening and Voice. Phenomenologies of Sound.