Instructing Technology, Technological Instruction: Editorial Introduction

semiotics, technology, and the order of things

The term instruction is multi-layered and used in completely different contexts – from printed user manuals, over explicitly uttered verbal directives to the implicit teaching of forms of conduct by exemplifying them. This issue collects contributions that explore instructions from a philosophical perspective on the relationship between language and technology. The following editorial introduces these contributions and identifies connections between them. Although the contributions in this special issue explore the term instruction from different angles, these contributions are all connected by a common thread, namely the philosophical reflection on the relationship between knowledge and action. This relationship seems to be prevalent in both written and verbal, implicit and explicit forms of instruction: instructions convey knowledge about action. Instructing a person or a machine connects the digital with the analogue and the abstract with the concrete while situating both instructor and instructed in a larger socio-technical context.