Taking Exception: Philosophy of Technology as a Multidimensional Problem Space

Dominic Smith (Lead / Corresponding author)

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This essay develops three key claims made in my 2018 book, Exceptional Technologies. Part one argues for ‘trivialising the transcendental’, to remove stigmas attached to the word ‘transcendental’ in philosophy in general and philosophy of technology in particular. Part two outlines the concept of ‘exceptional technologies’. These are artefacts and practices that show up as limit cases for our received pictures of what constitutes a ‘technology’ (what I refer to as our ‘pictures of method’) and that force us to reassess the conditions for the possibility of these pictures. I focus on the case of autonomous vehicles here, arguing that Google Street View provides a relatively better picture for approaching philosophical issues at stake than the famous ‘Trolley Problem’. Part three then concludes with a focus on Heidegger’s ‘Question Concerning Technology’ essay. Heidegger asserts that philosophical questioning ‘builds a way’ (1977: 3). I argue that philosophical approaches to technologies might better be considered in terms of a multidimensional problem space.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalFoundations of Science
Early online date5 Apr 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Apr 2021


  • Exceptional technologies
  • Google Street View
  • Immanuel Kant
  • Martin Heidegger
  • Transcendental
  • Trolley Poblem


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