Prima facie there is no reason that philosophy in the phenomenological-hermeneutic tradition should not admit of practical application, and Marx and Freud are exemplary in this regard. Despite the ethical turn in the late eighties, however, deconstructive criticism retains a reputation for an anti-realism and obscurantism that preclude meaningful engagement with ethical problems. Kelly Oliver is determined to avoid charges of ineffability in Technologies of Life and Death, where her first paragraph ends with a sentence beginning ‘In this book, I’ (p.2) and her introduction takes the form of an extended abstract. Her statement of intent announces an examination of the relationship between technology and ethics with particular attention to the processes of life and death, suggesting a focus on practical issues of fundamental importance to all human beings. The monograph is divided into three parts: Sex Machines (Chapters 1 and 2), Medusa Machines (Chapters 3 and 4), and Death Machines (Chapters 5 to 7).