Interaction as existential practice : An explorative study of Mark C. Taylor’s philosophical project and its potential consequences for Human-Computer Interaction

Abstract: This thesis discusses the potential consequences of applying the philosophy of Mark C. Taylor to the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).The first part of the thesis comprises a study focusing on two discursive trends in contemporary HCI, materiality and the self, and how these discourses describe interaction. Through a qualitative, inductive content analysis of 171 HCI research articles, a number of themes are identified in the literature and, it is argued, construct a dominant perspective of materiality, the self, and interaction. Examples that differ from the dominant discourse are also discussed as alternative perspectives for each of the three focal areas.The second part of the thesis comprises an analysis of Mark C. Taylor’s philosophical project which enables a number of philosophical positions on materiality, the self, and interaction to be identified. These positions are suggested to be variations and rereadings of themes found in Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy. These variations emerge as Taylor approaches Nietzsche through poststructuralism and complexity theory, and it is argued that the apparent heterogeneity of Taylor’s project can be understood as a more coherent position when interpreted in relation to Nietzsche’s philosophy.Based on the findings of the two literature studies, the thesis then discusses the possible consequences for HCI, if Taylor’s philosophy were to be applied as a theoretical framework. The thesis argues that Taylor’s philosophy describes the interaction between humans and computers  as an existential process, which contrasts with the dominant HCI discourse; that this view can be related to and provide a theoretical foundation for the alternative discourses in HCI; and that it can contribute to developing HCI.