Philosophy of Technology

Under philosophy of technology refers to both the philosophical study of the importance of technology as well as the analysis of the relationship of man , world and technology with each other.


The philosophy of technology, philosophy understood as the art is not an invention of modern times . Rather have, in the past already Protagoras , Plato (in the Timaeus, in the Republic and the Laws) and Aristotle (in Nicomachean Ethics, Book 6, and physics) dealt with technology. The antiquity not severing it from the technique of the art and craftsmanship . In the Middle Ages , with its resurgent craft and the urbanization relapses were devoted to Albertus Magnus [1] , in the Renaissance, Giordano Bruno anthropologically inspired the question of whether man is to define the necessary technical work. On the way to the modern , technology, science and art of each other increasingly separated, [2] then dealt Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz , Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel , Karl Marx , Ludwig Wittgenstein , [3] Martin Heidegger (The Question Concerning Technology, 1949), [4] Walter Benjamin [5] and Herbert Marcuse [6] , and with him the Frankfurt School [7] , each with different aspects of technology and industrialization . The focus of the philosophy of technology was and is the ambivalence of the domination of nature and nature referred awareness, the human image of the craftsman or homo faber , the relationship between technology and work , the relationship between technology and art, of technology and science, as well as the gesellschaftsstrukturierende role of technology in general. The ethics of technology is a branch of the philosophy of technology (qv).

However, the preoccupation with the theme “Technology” as its own subject area of ​​philosophy was not until the end of the 19th Century by the book “Outline of a Philosophy of Technology” (1877) [8] of the Hegelian Ernst Kapp triggered. For him, art is human organ projection, but also making culture in the broadest sense. Kapp succeeded it, the question of the technology from the narrow field of anthropology and extract to the question of the relevance for their culture and to expand their consciousness. Therefore, the philosophy of technology in the narrow sense is part of the philosophy of the Enlightenment and the debate about their conditions and consequences, especially since the high industrialization . [9]

The starting point of discipline formation were anthropological findings since the late 18th Century, the human being as ” flawed being , “ie, as compared with the poor animal looked in the specialization of its organs and senses, but think through his mind. Unlike other animals, man is not dependent on a specific living environment, but can and must constantly due to the absence of a separate biotope create their own habitat ( Technotop ). In this context also includes the determination of Friedrich Nietzsche that “non-excepted fixed animal” man is. Thus man needs technology necessarily. In the 20th Century took Arnold Gehlen this thesis about the nature of human defects [10] again, and integrated them into his rather pessimistic cultural anthropology. However, the above-mentioned non-conformism of man to nature was always a chance, in terms of its openness to the world – a term that in the first third of the 20th Century about Max Scheler [11] and Helmuth Plessner [12] emphasize.

Although the philosophy of technology by thinking of the German idealism is shaped so developed in the 20th Century rather materialistic positions on the specific social and economic changes through mechanization, automation and rationalization, and thus the role of the artefact, asked (eg Gerhard Freyer, F. Gottl-Ottlilienfeld, [13] Max Bense , Gerhard Banse, Günter ropohl ). Some authors relate directly or indirectly to Karl Marx and his theory of alienation , others refer to certain phenomena of crisis (such as the ecological crisis ). In this context, the debate around the central character of the art and the question of the relationship provisions of middle / end, and means / media is important. [14] In addition there were phenomenological items that asked about the relationship between technology and the world and its determinacy as about by Hans Blumenberg and Jacques Ellul be embodied. As varied as the positions of the philosophy of technology, so are the philosophical approaches to the concept of technology to determine its dimensions. Here, the uncertainty of the technology itself to the philosophical issue. [15]

The philosophy of technology, there are both pessimistic-optimistic as game species. It is part utopian ( utopia ) and dystopian thinking [16] ( dystopia ) and their manifestation in fictional literature and film. More recently, the philosophy of technology devotes about the virtual reality , the information and communication technologies, biotechnologies [17] and the design of socio-technical systems [18] and technological visions of the future.
Magic and Technology

Technology has both in antiquity ( Heron of Alexandria ) and in the Middle Ages not only the aspect of the fulfillment of purpose or benefits, but always also the Magic ( Magic ). The neo-Kantian Ernst Cassirer in 1930 (in the essay form and technique) [19] pointed out that today’s technological culture already hints in the magical world view is vortechnischer cultures (Homo divinans). Technical basis for thought and action is the distance to the changing nature of each. Without the distancing of the subject of the objective world can no technical development to take place (Technikidealismus). This first objectifying stance, as the first reflection on the nature of the world and the nature of the magical world view is inherent. It is based on an underlying belief that they can influence the world through rituals and action sequences. The arbitrariness or the belief in an overarching and dominant force fate (the Divine) so resigns already in the magical action. But this distance relationship with nature says no objectification of nature through technology.
Philosophy of Technology and Science Philosophy

Has only the scientific-analytical test arrangement in the experiment during the 17th, 18th and 19 Century led to a theoretical separation of the subject from the object. The description of the laws of nature according to fixed, ahistorical principles allowed an increasingly rational description of the world ( rationalism ), which has overcome the Magic for the validity of her statement range. Here, the basic anthropological assumption of man as a flawed being, however, concerns itself not ahistorical natural law. Philosophy of technology can not, therefore, philosophy of science can be transferred, but both disciplines relate to since the late 19th Another century. For unexplained to this day the question of whether the technology is to be regarded as an applied science (in the sense of a purely practical implementation of laws of nature) or whether especially the scientific experiment not rather just the technology in its materiality and Zweckinstrumentalität owes (eg qua apparatus and instrument ). A younger, especially by Bruno Latour inspired mindset, [20] who wants to give up the separation of science and technology is that of technoscience . In philosophical terms, the problem arises that characterized the differents orientations on the one hand, truth ( science analytically generate no more difference) and on the other hand, fulfillment of purpose (engineering and technical sciences). This mindset makes it a science-policy requirement for an application orientation of the natural sciences (applied sciences) in their problem now and evokes the question of the meaning and purpose of the category basic research and the scientific claim to truth . For the theory of technical sciences, it is problematic that the concept of artifact , which refers to artificiality, utility and manual / industrial production, in which technoscience mostly in the blurring categories thing (epistemic thing), [21] agent or medium is transferred ( media philosophy ).
Philosophy of technology, philosophy and social philosophy

Especially in the 1920s and 1930s, when the social Darwinism with the dogma of the “struggle for survival” was increasingly manifest, was the technique in dealing with various life terms. In his book Man and Technology (1931) connects the philosopher Oswald Spengler, the problem of the development of the technique with the original question of life, the struggle for power. The lead in this crisis of recent times (first half of the 20th century) to catastrophic developments, especially within the Faustian culture . These were, however, to accept fate. In this tradition in technology and the technology philosophically critical Ludwig Klages and the late Martin Heidegger to classify.

This contrasts with, say, technology philosophies of Helmuth Plessner and (much later) , Hans Jonas , who advocate for a responsible use of technology and its gemeinschaftsstrukturierenden or-resolution power. They argue on the basis of the philosophy of life already with social philosophical intention, ie with regard to the life of the community. On the social responsibility for the technical actions and Materialisate later has also Günter Ropohl (A system theory of the art, 1979) out where this is not about the relationship of technology to the biological concept of life, but for the life of society and the question of its technocratic control goes ( technocracy ). Here Anknüfungspunkte result for the Sociology of Technology .

Both Gehlen and Cassirer and Hannah Arendt refer to the close link between technical development and the development and support of the capitalist economic system, usually in terms of engine and machinery . This view of the machine technology is used in the 1960s by Helmut Schelsky continued and expanded to include the human techniques and guidance techniques. Philosophy of technology was at least since not only bound to tools, machines and artifacts, but could relate to procedures used by man on himself.

In this tradition are the younger approaches that examine the relationship between technology, life and power. These include the concepts of biopower and self Technology / Technologies of the Self by Michel Foucault , the concept Biofakt [22] and the philosophical clashes with neurological and psychological techniques. [23]
Recent Developments
art criticism since the 1950s

Günther Anders examined the impact of technical progress on the psyche of the people and its ethical and moral implications (The antiquity of man, [24] Volume 1 : 1956, Volume 2 : 1980). Are important in his philosophical and literary works, the civilizing cuts caused by the dropping of the atomic bomb are labeled, and the invention of television. In a similar tradition, but with a thrust in the Political Philosophy (; Orig 1958 German 1960) of his companion, the book is Arendt Hannah Arendt . According to Arendt, the image of man is homo faber in contrast to the Platonic concept of man as a political animal . Arendt’s student Richard Sennett in 2008 published a book on the philosophy of technology as a history of ideas craft thought and action, which the homo faber interpreted positively, as he (she) is oriented to problem solving (The Craftsman, German 2010). [25]

With the ethical-moral aspect of our increasingly technological world, employed the above mentioned moral philosopher Hans Jonas , in particular the non-sustainable use of nature and the progress of medical influence moves. Also here is the nuclear technology knowledge-conductive. He introduced the discussion under the theme “The Imperative of Responsibility” (1979). [26] It had said Jonas, a “heuristic of fear” developed which protect only before the self-destruction of man through his technique. Longer term is needed to lead the technology only a moral responsibility. In the risk assessment, which should be further developed and used technique that disaster prediction of the healing prognosis was preferable. That is, in the sense that said “heuristic of fear” of clearance all the techniques needed to be taken which could endanger even less likely to humanity, even if such techniques would have the potential high benefits.
Philosophy of Technology and Science Fiction

Among the more recent developments include the explicit discussion of the philosophy of technology with science fiction that a close link between technology and futurism anknüpft. Stanisław Lem transferred in a literary thought experiment, the biological theory of evolution of technical systems and speculated in this context about the possibilities of nanotechnology and distributed artificial intelligence (The Invincible, 1964). With these and related topics, he was also in Summa Technologiae (1964). He conceptualized his ideas of biological, technical and socio-cultural evolution , artificial intelligence , virtual reality , computer simulation , nanotechnology and technological singularity .

Transhumanists think – mostly in the sense of technological optimism – on the technical development of the people to overcome it (vision of the cyborg ) to.
Philosophy of Technology and the engineering profession

Another direction deals with the engineering profession in philosophical, especially ethical sense (see also VDI ). Subsequently, the philosophy of technology includes the methodological and conceptual foundations of the technology assessment and technology ethics . A product of the struggle of philosophers with the requirements of the engineering profession is the VDI guideline 3780 (“Technology Review”) from 1991. Philosophical attempts to engineer ethics or engineer to establish silk (analogous to the Hippocratic Oath in medicine) belong to this context.
Philosophy of Technology under gender aspects

Since the publication of the book TechnoFeminism of Judy Wajcman in 1994 and the work of Donna Haraway , the combination of technology and philosophy is gender a research topic of the philosophy of technology. The Techno feminism criticizes the culturally ingrained alliance of technology and man, resulting among other things from the history of trades and engineering studies. Another field that has supported the proximity of man and technology semantically long, is that of the military and military technology . [27] Not least because of the close connection of art philosophy and anthropology, the question is increasingly being whether the traditional view of man as hunter-gatherers and the woman as the guardian of the fire, which is questioned by paleoanthropologists, [28] would not have consequences for the technique Phil Sophie (especially for the development of the human image of homo faber ).

More suggestions arising from the technical education (field engineering didactics ) as well as the history of technology , [29] the technique always understand as part of a manual and material culture in addition to the ideal culture.

A challenge for the future is to philosophy of technology with intercultural philosophy and natural philosophy to connect because the philosophical discussion of the technology, in the form of technoscience , so far almost exclusively in terms of ‘Western’ categories such as education , democracy and technological progress [30] and is guided in consequence mainly of philosophers from Western industrialized nations.
Philosophy of Technology as a scientific theory of Science and Engineering

The philosophy of technology worked, more recently, the theoretical foundation of the engineering sciences, ie it tries scientific methodological, conceptual and epistemological to substantiate the specifics of constructing the sighting to the figures. [31] One of the central concepts of this is the “technical knowledge”. [32 ]
Philosophy of Technology as an academic discipline

The technique philosophy or philosophy of technology is a younger branch of academic philosophy , ie the denomination of chairs, the future owner should focus explicitly the philosophy of technology, put the world until the 1970s, which is about a century after the philosophical foundation by Ernst Kapp , a . But it is today, unlike the history of philosophy continued to reaching natural philosophy , firmly established in the canon of philosophical teaching, in the form of textbooks. To be processed in the context of professors of philosophy of technology areas of responsibility are often recently in the denominations with the philosophy of science or philosophy of culture connected. Chairs of philosophy of technology are now mostly located at technical universities or colleges, rarely also in art schools.

In Germany, the philosophy of technology was as an academic discipline in the strict sense of the past three decades, inter alia, Max Bense , Hans Sachsse , Friedrich Rapp , Hans Lenk , Hans Poser , Rafael Capurro , Walther Christoph Zimmerli , Bernhard Irrgang , Gerhard Banse , Christoph Hubig , Klaus grain growth , Günter Ropohl and Nicole C. Karafyllis developed (see references). The border with philosophers from the area which is natural philosophy (eg, Gernot Böhme , Ernst Oldemeyer , Lothar Schäfer ) and the philosophy of science (eg, Wolfgang Krohn , Brigitte Falkenburg , Gregor Schiemann , Alfred Nordmann ) and phenomenology ( Hans Blumenberg , Don Ihde ) and the media philosophy (eg, Friedrich Kittler , Bernard Stiegler , Sybille Krämer , Gerhard Gamm , Erich Hoerl not clear-cut or drag), because technology often opposing concepts such as nature , [33], body or spirit is philosophically analyzed. Even among theologians find technology philosophers (eg Ivan Illich ).

For the U.S. context as a disciplinary pioneers recently including Andrew Feenberg , [34] Carl Mitcham , Don Ihde and Earl R. McCormack , and, with a focus on media, including Marshall McLuhan to call. For the Dutch philosophy of technology is Hans Achterhuis groundbreaking for the French Gaston Bachelard , Gilbert Simondon , Jacques Ellul , and Bruno Latour . Both Latour and Carl Mitcham started her academic career at mining academies. In an even broader sense understood also could technology assessment about Herbert Paschen and Armin Grunwald develop an academic discipline in Germany, which is, however, genuinely interdisciplinary and applied to the field of political consulting is near. [35]

In Anglo-Saxon philosophy of technology in recent years, often in the humanities and social science-oriented degree program science and technology studies and STS integrated.

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