Call for papers: Philosophy of Technology and the French Thought (Deadline August 1, 2021)


  • Alberto Romele (Lille Catholic University) 
  • François-David Sebbah (Paris Nanterre University

French philosophers have never been very interested in technology, but surely, a French or francophone philosophy of technology indeed exists. Parrocchia (2009) has reconstructed the history of it from Descartes to the present day. More recently, the contributions of prominent contemporary authors in this field have been collected in a single volume (Loeve, Guchet, and Bensaude-Vincent 2018). Numerous French philosophers of technology are experiencing great success on an international scale. Consider, for instance, the case of Gilbert Simondon, whose work is now receiving extensive recognition after a long period of slumber (Bardin, Carrozzini, Rodriguez 2019). One should also consider the important contribution given by French scholars such as Bruno Latour, Michel Callon, and Madeleine Akrich to the development of the science and technology studies (STS). Not to mention the relevance, in France, of the epistemology and history of science and technology as a proper field of study.

However, this TC of Philosophy & Technology does not wish to focus on the French philosophy of technology, but rather on the relations between philosophy of technology and the “French thought”. With this term, we express something broader than the so-called “French theory”. Cusset (2008, p. 305) ironically defined French theory as “an American interpretation of French readings of German philosophers.” According to Esposito, who refers to authors such as Derrida, Foucault, Nancy, Lyotard, and Deleuze, the French theory has “neutrality” as its core category. For instance, Derrida’s deconstruction “is neutral, suspended between yes and no, positioned at their point of intersection. It marks its distance both from the paradigm of crisis and that of critique. [...] The distancing (and self-distancing) aims for a certain self-ironic quality that, at a certain point, might inhibit any position, be it negative or affirmative” (Esposito 2015, 109-110).

While the expression “French theory” mainly indicates a limited list of heretical, radical, and critical French theorists, mainly philosophers, “French thought” aspires to include all those French authors whose reflections, especially from the second half of the Twentieth century onwards, had a strong impact on the global debate in philosophy, as well as in other human and social sciences. This TC builds on the observation that while most of the representatives of the French thought have not shown any particular interest in technology, an increasing number of scholars is importing ideas and insights from the French thought into the philosophy of technology. Recent publications in this journal engage, for example, with authors such as Foucault (Dorrestijn 2012), Ricoeur (Reijers and Coeckelbergh 2018), Levinas (Bergen and Verbeek 2020), and Bourdieu (Floridi 2019; Romele 2020).

The goal of this TC is twofold. Firstly, it wishes to question the reasons of what appears to be a sort of rehabilitation. In fact, the “empirical turn” (Achterhuis 2001) of the philosophy of technology could be understood as a rejection of the “logocentrism” that characterizes the approach of many representatives of the French thought. Is there now a partial dissatisfaction for some consequences of the empirical turn? Is the French thought offering an alternative means for a critical, both ethical and political, understanding of technology? Secondly, it proposes to investigate new paths that have not been explored yet: authors whose perspectives have not been mobilized, applications of the French thought to new technological fields and objects, and so on.


Achterhuis, H. (ed.) (2001). American Philosophy of Technology: The Empirical Turn. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Bardin, A., Carrozzini, G., Rodriguez, P. (eds.) (2019). The Work of Gilbert Simondon. Special Issue of Philosophy Today, 63(3).

Bergen, J.P., Verbeek, P.-P. (2020). To-Do Is to Be: Foucault, Levinas, and the Technologically Mediated Subjectivation. Philosophy & Technology, online first.

Cusset, F. (2008). French Theory: How Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze & Co. Transformed the Intellectual Life in the United States. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press.

Dorrestijn, S. (2012). Technical Mediation and Subjectivation: Tracing and Extending Foucault’s Philosophy of Technology. Philosophy & Technology, 25, 221-241.

Esposito, R. (2015). German Philosophy, French Theory, Italian Thought. RSA Journal, 26, 104-114.

Floridi, L. (2018). Semantic Capital: Its Nature, Value, and Curation. Philosophy & Technology, 31(4), 481-497.

Loeve, S. Guchet, X., Bensaude-Vincent, B. (eds.) (2018). French Philosophy of Technology: Classical Readings and Contemporary Approaches. Dordrecht: Springer.

Parrocchia, D. (2009). French philosophy of technology. In A. Brenner, J. Gayon (eds.), French studies in the philosophy of science (pp. 51–70). Dordrecht: Springer.

Reijers, W., Coeckelbergh, M. (2018). The Blockchain as a Narrative Technology: Investigating the Social Ontology and Normative Configurations of Cryptocurrencies. Philosophy & Technology, 31, 103-130.

Romele, A. (2020). Technological Capital: Bourdieu, Postphenomenology, and the Philosophy of Technology Beyond the Empirical Turn. Philosophy & Technology, online first.


We seek submissions of roughly 8,000 words in length. While the motivating questions should be of a philosophical nature, we welcome high-quality submissions regardless of philosophical tradition or research. Questions addressed may include, but are not limited to:

  • The reasons for the (re)discovery of the French thought in the philosophy of technology;
  • The historical role of the French thought in the philosophy of technology;
  • The role, present or potential, of various authors of the French thought in the contemporary philosophy of technology;
  • The intersection between French philosophy of technology and French thought;
  • New intersections between the French thought and the philosophy of technology;
  • Applications of the French thought to specific technological fields and objects;
  • The risks and limits of the use of the French thought in the philosophy of technology.


August 1s, 2021t: deadline for paper submission
October 1st, 2021: decision and revisions returned
December 1st, 2021: deadline for revised papers
February 1st, 2022: publication of the TC


To submit a paper for this TC, authors should go to the journal’s Editorial Manager

The author (or a corresponding author for each submission in case of co- authored papers) must register into EM.

The author must then select the special article type: “Philosophy of Technology and the French Thought” from the selection provided in the submission process. This is needed in order to assign the submissions to the Guest Editors.

Submissions will then be assessed according to the following procedure:

New Submission Journal Editorial Office ⇒ Guest Editor(s) ⇒ (double-blind) Reviewers ⇒ Reviewers’ Recommendations ⇒ Guest Editors’ Recommendation ⇒ Editor-in-Chief’s Decision ⇒ Author ⇒ Notification of the Decision.

The process will be reiterated in case of requests for revisions.

For any further information please contact:

Alberto Romele,