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

Authors
Mark Coeckelbergh
University of Vienna
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.
Keywords Blockchain technology  Cryptocurrencies  Ethics  Politics  Narrative  Ricoeur  Searle  STS
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Reprint years 2016, 2018
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DOI 10.1007/s13347-016-0239-x
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References found in this work BETA

Minds, Brains, and Programs.John Searle - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3):417-57.
After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory.Samuel Scheffler - 1983 - Philosophical Review 92 (3):443.
Do Artifacts Have Politics?Langdon Winner - 1980 - Daedalus 109 (1):121--136.

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Citations of this work BETA

Moving From Value Sensitive Design to Virtuous Practice Design.Wessel Reijers & Bert Gordijn - 2019 - Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society 17 (2):196-209.

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Cryptocurrencies as Narrative Technologies.Mark Coeckelbergh & Wessel Reijers - 2015 - Acm Sigcas Computers and Society 45 (3):172-178.

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