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Technology, philosophy of

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-Q103-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved April 24, 2024, from

Article Summary

The philosophy of technology deals with the nature of technology and its effects on human life and society. The increasing influence of modern technology on human existence has triggered a growing interest in a philosophical analysis of technology. Nevertheless, the philosophy of technology as a coherent field of research does not yet exist. The subject covers studies from almost every branch of thinking in philosophy and deals with a great variety of topics because of a lack of consensus about the primary meaning of the term ‘technology’, which may, among others, refer to a collection of artifacts, a form of human action, a form of knowledge or a social process.

Among the most fundamental issues are two demarcation problems directly related to the definition of technology. The first concerns the distinction between technological (artificial) and natural objects. It involves the relation between man, nature and culture. The second pertains to the distinction between science and technology as types of knowledge. The science–technology relationship has become of central importance because of the widespread assumption that the distinguishing feature of modern technology, as compared to traditional forms of technology, is that it is science-based. Another much discussed issue is the autonomy of technology. It deals with the question of whether technology follows its own inevitable course of development, irrespective of its social, political, economic and cultural context.

Citing this article:
Kroes, Peter. Technology, philosophy of, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-Q103-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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