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Encyclopedia > Philosophy of technology

The Philosophy of technology is a philosophical field dedicated to studying the nature of technology and its social effects. By the mid 20th century humans had achieved a level of technological mastery sufficient to leave the surface of the planet for the first time and explore space. ...

Considered under the rubric of the Greek term techne (art, or craft knowledge) the philosophy of technology goes to the very roots of western philosophy. In his Republic ((philosophy) Plato sees techne as the basis for the philosophers' proper rule in the city. In the Ethics (Book 6) Aristotle describes techne as one of the 4 ways that we can know about the world. The Stoics argued that virtue is a kind of technê based upon a proper understanding of the universe. Plato (Greek: Πλάτων, Plátōn, wide, broad-shouldered) (c. ... As distinguished from episteme, the Greek word techne (literally: craftsmanship) is often translated as craft or art. ... Media:Example. ...

While 19th Century philosophers such as Karl Marx were philosophically interested in tools and techniques, the most prominent 20th century philosophers to directly address modern technology were John Dewey and Martin Heidegger. Both saw technology as central to modern life, although (to speak roughly) Dewey was optimistic about the role of technology, Heidegger pessimistic. Dewey's work on technology was dispersed throughout his corpus, while Heidegger's major work on technology may be found in The Question Concerning Technology. Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883) was an immensely influential German philosopher, political economist, and socialist revolutionary. ... John Dewey (October 20, 1859 – June 1, 1952) was an American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer, whose thought has been greatly influential in the United States and around the world. ... Martin Heidegger (September 26, 1889 – May 26, 1976), German philosopher, attempted to reorient Western philosophy away from metaphysical and epistemological and toward ontological questions, that is, questions concerning the meaning of being, or what it means to be. Heidegger also challenged the idea of phenomenology as defined by his teacher...

In the 1960's, Marshall McLuhan became a major radical voice in the field, with such works as The Medium is the Message and Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. Major contemporary philosophers of technology include Albert Borgmann, Don Idhe, Jean Baudrillard, Andrew Feenberg and Donna Haraway. Herbert Marshall McLuhan (July 21, 1911 – December 31, 1980) was a Canadian educator, philosopher, and scholar, professor of English literature, literary critic, and communications theorist, who is one of the founders of the study of media ecology and is today an honorary guru among technophiles. ... Jean Baudrillard (born July 29, 1929) is a cultural theorist, philosopher, political commentator and sociologist. ... Donna Haraway Donna Haraway, born in 1944 in Denver, Colorado, is currently a professor and former chair of the History of Consciousness Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, United States. ...

See also

There are a number of theories attempting to address technology, which tend to be associated with the disciplines of Science and technology studies (STS) and Communication studies. ... The wheel was invented circa 4000 BC, and has become one of the worlds most famous and most useful technologies. ...


  • Borgmann, Albert. Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life. 1984. University of Chicago Press.
  • Ellul, Jacques. The Technological Society. 1964. Vintage Books.
  • Feenberg, Andrew. Questioning Technology. 1999. Routledge Press.
  • Heidegger, Martin. The Question Concerning Technology. 1977. Harper and Row.
  • Hickman, Larry. John Dewey's Pragmatic Technology. 1992. Indiana University Press.
  • Manuel de Landa War in the Age of Intelligent Machines. 1991.
  • Lyotard, Jean-Francois. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. 1984. University of Minnesota Press.
  • McLuhan, Marshall.
    • The Medium is the Message. 1967. Bantum Books.
    • Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. 1964. McGraw Hill.
  • Mitcham, Carl. Thinking Through Technology. 1994. University of Chicago Press.
  • Simondon, Gilbert.
    • Du mode d'existence des objets techniques. 1958. (French)
    • L'individu et sa genèse physico-biologique (l'individuation à la lumière des notions de forme et d'information), 1964. Paris PUF (French)
  • Winner, Langdon. Autonomous Technology. 1977. MIT Press.

  Results from FactBites:
Philosophy & Technology (1426 words)
Philosophy of technology is a critical, reflective examination of the nature of technology as well as the effects and transformation of technologies in human knowledge, activities, societies, and environments.
The aim of philosophy of technology is to understand, evaluate, and criticize the ways in which technologies reflect as well as change human life individually, socially, and politically.
The philosophy of technology at that time tended to offer theories explaining the historical and transcendental conditions of modern technology, which was seen as qualitatively different from earlier technology.
20th WCP: Philosophy and Technology (3131 words)
Some of the philosophical problems the nowadays technique and technology are confronted with are related to the definition of concepts, the cultural value contained in them, and place they have in the European culture.
Philosophy is situated exactly at the intersection of these four areas and partially overlaps them.
Technology is the youngest component, and that's why we may not always realize the central position it occupies in the contemporary culture.
  More results at FactBites »



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