SPT2017: The Grammar of Things


20th conference of the Society for Philosophy and Technology

June 14-17, 2017 – Darmstadt, Germany


There are a few changes in the program – you will find the latest version below: SPT2017 as of June 14.


Conference Locations

Here is a map of conference locations. They are close to each other, separated by no more than 5 minutes. The yellow dotted lines indicate the many paths from one to the other. You will find us at the Darmstadtium Wed 2 to 4pm and Friday 9am to 3:30, We will be at the Maschinenhaus and adjacent Classroom Building Wed after 4:30, all day Thursday, Friday after 4pm, and all day Saturday.

The book of abstracts can be found here.

Registration and Payment for SPT2017 is live now!


When we talk and think about technology, we are talking about ars and techne, artefacts and socio-technical systems – and always about putting things together, co-ordinating people and things. Seeking to understand, interpret, and knowingly inhabit the human-built world, we explore what works together, how to construct, engineer, compose, grow, plan, assemble, or design in appropriate, fitting, sustainable, and sociable ways.

These are questions of grammar: How do things work together in the motor of a car, in a public square, in a soap opera, in the painting of a historic scene, in a deliberative process? What are the principles of composition in a musical score or a computer program? How closely are things related in an ‘Internet of Things’? What sustains the operation of a concrete machine? Who acts when a law is enforced, a plan realized, a code compiled, a script executed? How do users become designers, how do scientists become engineers, how do artefacts become moral agents?

Such examinations of the grammar of things implicate epistemology, social imaginaries, and design ethics. They provoke analysis from the various traditions in philosophy of technology and seek to draw on contributions from history of technology, cultural studies, design theory, anthropology, art history, cognitive psychology, computer science, engineering education, and other fields.


Plenary Speakers

Pamela Andanda (Law, University of Witwatersrand)

Christian Bök (Poet, Charles Darwin University)

Dagmar Schäfer (History of Science and China, Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte Berlin)

Astrid Schwarz (Philosophy, BTU Cottbus)

George Stiny (Design and Computation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

plus the SPT plenary and awards session

Technische Universität Darmstadt The Society for Philosophy and Technology Technische Universität Berlin Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft  Institute of Philosophy TU Darmstadt