On Technical Mediation

On Technical Mediation application/pdf icon

In Common Knowledge Vol.3, n°2 p.29-64. [included in Book (VII)]


In this series of three lectures -shortened in one long paper- is presented the philosophical, sociological and mythical account of the links between humans and non-humans; the first section explores the notion of translation in order to give activity back to objects, the second follows empirical examples of technical systems and the third offers a mythical account of how humans and techniques co-evolved. The general purpose of the article is to show that there are many ways to escape the dualist paradigm separating humans and non-humans. To understand techniques and their ties with society we have to be as subtle as the ant to which a thread is attached by Daedalus. The straight line of philosophy is of no use in those matters. It is the crooked and devious labyrinth of machines and machinations that we have to explore. This is what I want to try to do in those lectures dedicated to “the Evolution of Civilization” by Dr Messenger, who added in his will that those lectures should have “the special purpose of raising the moral standard of our political, business, and social life”. Well, I like this brief and take up the challenge, since this is exactly what I intend to do, summarize -modestly!- the Evolution of Civilization and, yes, raise your moral standards -if needs be- by unveiling the most despised artefacts that hold all of us together! Techniques, as we shall see, are not only our source of strength but of morality and politics.


1998: Allemand / German
« Über technische Vermitlung Philosophie, Soziologie, Genealogie » in Technik und Sozialtheorie, Werner Rammert (editor), Campus Verlag pp.29-82, 1998 [new German translation in Andréa Belliger & David J. Krieger ANThology - Eine Einführendes Hanbuch zue Akteur-Netzwerk-Theorie, Bielefeld, Transcript Verlag, 2006 pp.483-529]

1998: Espagnol / Spanish
« De la mediacion técnica: filosofia, sociologia, genealogia » in Miquel Domènech y Francisco J. Tirado (Eds.) Sociología simétrica Ensayos sobre ciencia, tecnología y sociedad. Barcelona: Gedisa, pp.249-302, 1998

1998: Italien / Italian
« L’evoluzione del collettivo tra scienzia, tecnic e societa » translated by Allessandro de Lachenal in La Medicina di Darwin Pino Donghi (sous la direction de), Laterza, pp.167-208, 1998

2014: Hebrew
על תיווך טכני – פילוסופיה, סוציולוגיה, גנאלוגיה
translated by Avner Ben Zaken
in “Beyond the Object” in Bezalel – Journal of Visual and Material Culture
vol. 1, August 2014, pp. 1-24