This chapter outlines a branching-off from this scholarly conversation in a novel direction—instead of asking about the extent to which we can know the experiences of other minds, I seek to ask in what ways technologies require us to know the non-experiences of non-minds. This rather paradoxical formulation will be unpacked as we go forward, but put briefly: We sometimes treat some technologies as if they have minds, and some technologies are designed with interfaces that encourage or require that users treat them as if they have minds. This chapter seeks to outline what we are doing when we develop and use a pseudo-“theory of mind” for mindless things.
This article by D. E. Wittkower is a selection from The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Technology, edited by Shannon Vallor.
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