In about two weeks I will be in Kiel for the Winter School on Assistive Thinking. The entanglement of technology and human epistemological practices.
Here’s the title and abstract for my talk.
Chance-seeking as a way of making sense in the time of technological entanglement.
The adoption of an instrument – be it a tablet, smartphone, or a simple application – is never as automatic as pulling on a pair of trousers. Even when a person does know its main features, that does not mean that he can actually make profitable use of it. That is because the adoption (and appropriation) of an instrument always implies one to make sense of it for himself – as far as his identity, values and goals in life are concerned.
I claim that this sense-making process is not the kind of thing one can be instructed for. Nor is it something that can reasonably be the object of a plan. Conversely, it is an adaptive, forward-looking process, which can be characterized in terms of chance-seeking. In a nutshell, chance-seeking is a kind of exploratory, individuating, and path-creating process that is very much rooted in one’s own being-in-the-world. As a chance-seeker, a person is open to chance and unplanned occurrences while being at the same time responsive to tinker with those occurrences making the best out of them. As such, chance-seeking can be considered a form of thinking in action, which is eminently ambulatory. That is, one does not think (and know) before she goes, but always as she goes, in due course.