Hildebrand – Hickman’s Productive Pragmatism and the Existential Challenge of Information Technologies

David L. Hildebrand

University of Colorado Denver

Hickman’s work in pragmatism and the philosophy of technology have never lost sight of a goal basic to American philosophy — the project of making life more meaningful. This paper will look at several of Hickman’s most important ideas at the intersection of pragmatism and the philosophy of technology in order to understand how his pragmatic approach to technology resists the all too common faults of essentialism, pessimism, and utopianism.

Tools have always been with us, and their meaning rests with what we do with them and with how we conceive of our relationship with them. In the end, this becomes a question of what we want to become, and Hickman’s sensitivity to both the situational and experiential questions of technology provide a wider philosophy which aims at wisdom, in the classic sense of that term.

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