Phenomenology and the Empirical Turn: a Phenomenological Analysis of Postphenomenology

Jochem Zwier*, Vincent Blok, Pieter Lemmens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


This paper provides a phenomenological analysis of postphenomenological philosophy of technology. While acknowledging that the results of its analyses are to be recognized as original, insightful, and valuable, we will argue that in its execution of the empirical turn, postphenomenology forfeits a phenomenological dimension of questioning. By contrasting the postphenomenological method with Heidegger’s understanding of phenomenology as developed in his early Freiburg lectures and in Being and Time, we will show how the postphenomenological method must be understood as mediation theory, which adheres to what Heidegger calls the theoretical attitude. This leaves undiscussed how mediation theory about ontic beings (i.e.,technologies) involves a specific ontological mode of relating to beings, whereas consideration of this mode is precisely the concern of phenomenology. This ontological dimension is important to consider, since we will argue that postphenomenology is unwittingly technically mediated in an ontological way. The upshot of this is that in its dismissal of Heidegger’s questioning of technology as belonging to “classical philosophy of technology,” postphenomenology implicitly adheres to what Heidegger calls technology as Enframing. We argue that postphenomenology overlooks its own adherence to the theoretical attitude and ultimately to Enframing, and we will conclude with calling for a phenomenological questioning of the dimension that postphenomenology presently leaves unthought, meaning that we will develop a plea for a rehabilitation of the ontological dimension in the philosophy of technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-333
JournalPhilosophy & Technology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Empirical turn
  • Enframing
  • Heidegger
  • Postphenomenology
  • Theoretical attitude


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