Philosophical Debates About Technology
As the use of technology evolves, the question of its nature continues to be a major philosophical debate. The nature of technology, its role in human society, the relationship between science and technology, and the impact of technological innovation are among the topics that are discussed. This article discusses some of the key issues surrounding these debates.
Philosophical debates about the nature of technology
Philosophical debates about the nature of technology have often been framed in terms of analogy. If we are to take an analogy between nature and technology, we must first consider what nature is and how it functions. Nature is a system of forms, functions, and aims, which are similar to those of technological systems.
While Heidegger and Ortega y Gasset advocated a metaphysical view of technology, others have taken a more empirical approach. For example, they regard energy and nature as instruments for human control. They also tie the question of the nature of technology into broader debates about what is good and what is happy. These approaches are still relevant to the popular discussion of technology, but they are largely outmoded in professional philosophy of technology. The 1980s brought a newer perspective to this debate. In particular, Science and Technology Studies (STS) has contributed to this new view.
Philosophical debates about the relationship between technology and science
Philosophical debates about the relationship between technology, science, and society have a long and rich history. The most recent of these heated debates took place in the 1990s, after the Sokal scandal and Paul R. Gross and Norman Levitt’s book, Higher Superstition. Both books sparked a ferocious debate on the value of science and the role of STS. These debates have only intensified over time, and the distance between the two disciplines has remained high.
Philosophical debates about the relationship between technology, science, and society began as early as the beginning of civilization. Humans have long made tools to survive, and therefore have been characterized as homo faber, or the “tool maker.” While the debates in the Western world can be traced to antiquity, they are likely much older. Only recently has a specialized discipline emerged to address the relationship between science and technology. This field is often known as the philosophy of technology. The term “technology philosophy” was probably coined by Ernst Kapp in 1877.
Philosophical debates about technological innovation
Philosophical debates about technological innovation encompass the impact of the technologies that are developed. While some view innovation as a process of forming new artifacts that will alter the world, others place the responsibility for technological change squarely on society. The philosophical debates about technological change reflect the interplay of these three perspectives.
The debates on technology can be extremely complicated. There are numerous competing theories, but they are all related to the development of our society and the role technology plays. Some argue that technological innovation is a positive force, while others say that it is harmful. A few notable philosophers have addressed this question, including Herbert Marcuse and Jurgen Habermas.