Let’s Make Things Better: A Reply to My Readers


This article is a reply to the three reviews of my book What Things Do: Philosophical Reflections on Technology, Agency, and Design (Verbeek 2005) in this symposium. It discusses the remarks made by the reviewers along five lines. The first is methodological and concerns the question of how to develop a philosophical approach to technology. The second line discusses the philosophical orientation of the book, and the relations between analytic and continental approaches. Third, I will discuss the metaphysical aspects of the book, in particular the nature and value of the non-modernist approach it aims to set out. Fourth, I will discuss the social and political relevance of the book. Fifth, this will bring me to some concluding remarks about how the postphenomenological perspective developed in the book relates to liberalism, focusing on its suggestions to deliberately design our material environment in terms of mediation.

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  1. 1.

    See the edited volume User behavior and technology development: Shaping sustainable relations between consumers and technologies for an attempt to locate the mediation approach in a whole range of other approaches to the impact of technologies on practices and experiences of users, and to make this confrontation fruitful for technology design and policy-making (Verbeek and Slob 2006).

  2. 2.

    See also Verbeek (2006a, b) for further elaboration of the ethical implications of the approach of technological mediation.


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Correspondence to Peter-Paul Verbeek.

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Verbeek, P. Let’s Make Things Better: A Reply to My Readers. Hum Stud 32, 251–261 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10746-009-9118-0

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  • Philosophy of technology
  • Ethics of technology
  • Mediation
  • Liberalism
  • Modernity