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.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
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).
de Vries, G. (1993). Gerede twijfel: Over de rol van de medische ethiek in Nederland. Amsterdam: De Balie.
Heidegger, M. (1951). Das Ding. In Vorträge und Aufsätze. Pfullingen: Neske.
Latour, B. (2005). From Realpolitik to Dingpolitik—or how to make things public. In B. Latour & P. Weibel (Eds.), Making things public: Atmospheres of democracy (pp. 4–31). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Laurier, E., & Philo, C. (1999). X-morphising: Review essay of Bruno Latour’s Aramis or the love of technology. Environment and Planning A, 13(6), 1047–1072.
Sloterdijk, P. (1999). Regeln für den Menschenpark. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
Verbeek, P. P. (2005). What things do: Philosophical reflections on technology, agency, and design. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.
Verbeek, P. P. (2006a). Materializing morality: Design ethics and technological mediation. Science, Technology and Human Values, 31(3), 361–380.
Verbeek, P. P. (2006b). The morality of things: A postphenomenological inquiry. In E. Selinger (Ed.), Postphenomenology: A critical companion to Ihde. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Verbeek, P. P., & Slob, A. (Eds.). (2006). User behavior and technology design: Shaping sustainable relations between consumers and technologies. Dordrecht: Springer.
About this article
Cite this article
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
- Philosophy of technology
- Ethics of technology