The Blockchain as a Narrative Technology: Investigating the Social Ontology and Normative Configurations of Cryptocurrencies

Philosophy and Technology 31 (1):103-130 (2018)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

In this paper, we engage in a philosophical investigation of how blockchain technologies such as cryptocurrencies can mediate our social world. Emerging blockchain-based decentralised applications have the potential to transform our financial system, our bureaucracies and models of governance. We construct an ontological framework of “narrative technologies” that allows us to show how these technologies, like texts, can configure our social reality. Drawing from the work of Ricoeur and responding to the works of Searle, in postphenomenology and STS, we show how blockchain technologies bring about a process of emplotment: an organisation of characters and events. First, we show how blockchain technologies actively configure plots such as financial transactions by rendering them increasingly rigid. Secondly, we show how they configure abstractions from the world of action, by replacing human interactions with automated code. Third, we investigate the role of people’s interpretative distances towards blockchain technologies: discussing the importance of greater public involvement with their application in different realms of social life.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,088

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Social networking technology and the virtues.Shannon Vallor - 2010 - Ethics and Information Technology 12 (2):157-170.

Analytics

Added to PP
2018-03-07

Downloads
91 (#176,438)

6 months
16 (#118,528)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Mark Coeckelbergh
University of Vienna

References found in this work

After virtue: a study in moral theory.Alasdair C. MacIntyre - 1981 - Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press.
Minds, brains, and programs.John Searle - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3):417-57.
Minds, Brains, and Programs.John Searle - 1980 - In John Heil (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.

View all 25 references / Add more references