chapter  1
20 Pages


Words and Things
WithMark Coeckelbergh

It is common to distinguish between words and things, humans and nature, language and technology. The comparison to instruments and crafts is interesting with regard to dealing with the gap between words and things, since it makes a clear link between the use of words and technological practice. In Plato’s time, however, essentialism, naturalism, and universalism prevailed, and the analogy with technological practice remained an analogy. Technology was generally seen as belonging to a separate, entirely nonlinguistic realm. Metaphysically speaking, one could say that objects and subjects are separated. There are human subjects on the one side, and nonhuman objects on the other side. This book aims to make a significant contribution to this project of rethinking philosophy of technology in order to account for the role of language, and enquires into, more specifically, attempts to conceptualize and map the relationship(s) between technology and language.