Disability and Prosthetics Beyond Utility and Function

  • Post category:Draft Papers

Technologies are not mere external utilities, but are profoundly involved within human development. Explanation of such involvement takes various forms. Like natural and social artefacts, technologies have a historical development, and can acquire metaphysical baggage. One way to conceptualise technology is prosthesis: a tool—from a flint or a hammer, to language—that extends or enables capacities. I’ll discuss prosthesis as a human-technology relation, and consider three such conceptualisations—instrumentalism, Bernard Stiegler’s ‘originary technicity’, and Gilbert Simondon’s ‘concretisation’—and discuss their relevance to and potential for thinking about disability.

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