Summary: In this article, my goal is to reflect philosophically on the uses of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in technical communication, which is partly a reflection on my professional experience. This inquiry will be empirically grounded in institutional economics advocated by John Kenneth Galbraith, and it will be philosophically aligned with the pragmatist tradition following John Dewey.
The philosophical meanings of technologies: some historical overview
Summary: In this section, I draw on various insights from aesthetics, philosophy, history, and social science to help shed light on what the terms 'technical' and 'technology' mean in theory and practice.
Pragmatic technologies: linguistic and aesthetic dimensions behind technical communication
Summary: Here I examine linguistic and aesthetic dimensions behind the uses of ICTs in business, especially from a pragmatist perspective. This examination allows us to define the 'technical' and the 'technological' in the pragmatist senses and to differentiate pragmatic technologies from previous Enlightenment philosophies of technology.
Pragmatic ICTs and the technostructure: uncertainties from technological interconnectivity
Summary: Now we can relate the linguistic and aesthetic dimensions of ICTs to the contemporary nature of technological interconnectivity. I define 'pragmatic ICTs.'
Ethical communicative planning: mutual interests and improved social habits
Summary: This section considers how pragmatic ICTs can function as an ethical basis for business planning in technical communication by uniting facts with values and means with ends to promote mutual interests and improved social habits.
Pragmatic casuistry: beyond the modernist and postmodernist dichotomy
Summary: Before concluding we must make applied pragmatist ethics more explicit by prioritizing moral values like robustness over others like expediency. The method of casuistry with an experimental outlook can serve as a starting point for this ethics.
Conclusion: a pragmatist philosophy of technical communication
Summary: This conclusion insists not only on the importance of business philosophy but also on business philosophy's need for pragmatist thinking in professions like technical communication.