Maintenance and Philosophy of Technology

Special Interest Group at the Society for Philosophy and Technology (SPT)

The practice of maintenance and repair has traditionally formed a neglected topic in scholarship on technology. Over the past two decades however, a growing body of literature has emerged which aims to address this neglect from an eclectic range of disciplinary perspectives, including history, geography, media studies and anthropology. By examining a range of practices that have long occupied the periphery of scholarly thinking about technology, this literature has yielded a range of insights and demonstrated the potential of this area of research to enables new ways of thinking about technology. Yet despite the potential this scholarship holds for enriching philosophical discussions of technology, maintenance and repair continue to remain neglected themes in philosophy.

The overall goal of this SIG will be to initiate a discourse on maintenance in philosophy of technology by establishing a forum wherein researchers from philosophy and other disciplines can meet to reflect on the philosophical significance of this important yet neglected topic.

The group will hold monthly online seminars which aim to stimulate discussion about maintenance among philosophers but also to facilitate dialogue between philosophers of technology and scholars of maintenance and repair from other disciplines. All are therefore encouraged to take part, regardless of disciplinary background and we look forward to welcoming a diverse range of perspectives on this important and exciting topic.

You’ll find the schedule for 2022 below. If you’d like to attend any of the talks, send an email to Mark Young at and you'll be added to the mailing list through which zoom links will be posted a week in advance.

Event time is always: 18:00-19:15 (UTC+1)

 Schedule for 2022

May 12Mark Thomas Young (U Vienna) “How Artifacts Adapt: The Golden Gate Bridge and the Metaphysics of Maintenance”
June 9Eugenia Stamboliev (U Vienna)“Rethinking Maintenance as Part of Trustworthiness”
August 11Tom Fisher (NTU)“Repairing things repairs people”
September 8Cristina Bernabeau & Jesus Vega Encabo (Autonomous U Madrid) “The Privilege of Maintenance and Repair in shaping and understanding our Artifactual World"
October 13Taylor Stone (U Bonn) and Aimee Van Wynesberghe (U Bonn) “On the Things of the Internet: AI for Maintenance and the Maintenance of AI"
November 10Sanna Lehtinen (Aalto Univ.)“Aesthetic Values in the Maintenance of Urban Technologies”
December 8Simon Penny (UCI)"Making Maintenance Possible Again: Finding Ethical and Sustainable Paths Through Consumerism, Disposability and Inbuilt  Obsolescence"