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Technology and ethics

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-L102-2
Version: v2,  Published online: 2021
Retrieved May 22, 2024, from

Article Summary

Research on ethics and technology investigates how technologies (human-made physical entities, often called tools or artifacts) directly or indirectly affect voluntary human behaviour. The scope of these studies ranges from the use of one tool in a defined practice to kinds of technologies, the systems they form, and to technology in general. Some studies are descriptive, others normative, and many are both. Descriptive areas of research include the production and use of technologies, behaviour in different technological settings (e.g. how a soldier’s weapons modify battlefield engagements, including willingness to engage), and the beliefs and motivations that people hold about their artifacts. They often incorporate anthropological, sociological, and psychological research on material culture. Normative areas of research explore the right ways to fabricate things, the morality of the production and use of technologies, the moral status of technological entities, and how technology should contribute to one’s understanding and pursuit of a meaningful life. What follows is an introductory overview of research in these areas as it has emerged especially since the mid-twentieth century.

Citing this article:
Miller, Glen and Carl Mitcham. Technology and ethics, 2021, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-L102-2. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
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