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Table 1 Summary of the commonalities and differences between the understandings of empirical in the various branches of the empirical turn philosophy of technology

From: The ‘Empirical’ in the Empirical Turn: A Critical Analysis

  Postphenomenology The critical theory of technology The analytical philosophy of technology  
What is empirical? The movement from case to theory The incorporation of science and technology studies approaches - The engineering context
- The movement from case to theory
 
Direction of analysis From individual technology to a new theory Back and forth between individual technology and a pre-existing theory From individual technology to a new theory and back to practice in order to see whether it coheres with the resulting conceptual frameworks  
What is qualified as case-study? Undefined Undefined 1. To help clarify concepts, methods, and practices instead of functioning as an illustration. 2. It must contain many relevant details. 3. It does not need to be representative but also not irrelevant  
Who conducts a case-study? - Philosophers (impressionistic cases)
- Other scholars (methodological cases)
- Philosophers (impressionistic cases)
- Other scholars (methodological cases)
- Philosophers (impressionistic cases)
- Other scholars (methodological cases)
 
Methodology - Observations by the philosopher
- Social constructivism
- Literature study about the technology (e.g., Verbeek, 2008)
- Other methodologies when cases are conducted by other scholars
- Observations by the philosopher
- Social constructivism
- Literature studies to complement both contemporary and historical studies (e.g., Feenberg, 2010)
- Other methodologies when cases are conducted by other scholars
- Observations by the philosopher
- Studying engineering literature
 
Function of the empirical - To understand the particularities of technologies in order to challenge theories and conceptions
- To form a solid basis for an adequate understanding of technologies
- To show possibilities for further development
- To disclose hegemonic values and believes of social groups in technologies
- To generate new understandings
- To make concrete proposals about how to make technologies more democratic
Derive new topics and concepts for philosophical study  
Focus of inquiry Human–technology relations Social struggles, inequality between groups Engineering practice  
Philosophical movements as inspiration - Postmodernism,
- Phenomenology
- Pragmatism
- Social constructivism
- Modernism
- Frankfurt School
- Social constructivism
Analytical philosophy