Context: What is philosophy of technology?
Philosophy of technology studies the character of technology and its relations
Developments in philosophy of technologyPhilosophy of technology emerged as an independent field of philosophical inquiry in the second half of the 19th century, and embodies as many approaches as there are philosophical traditions. Some of them are more ‘theoretical’, others are more ‘applied’. Some of them focus more on sharpening the concepts with which we can understand technology, others more on theorising and evaluating the social and cultural roles of technology.Over the last decades of the 20th century, the field made an ‘empirical turn’. It shifted its focus from studying ‘technology’ as a broad phenomenon to studying actual technologies, in their detailed relations with the sciences, with human beings, and with society. Rather than developing theories about ‘technology’ in general, it started to take actual technologies as a starting point for philosophical reflection. Technologies challenge philosophical concepts and theories. When medical diagnostic technologies get involved in our ethical decisions, for instance, this challenges our ideas about ethics itself: is ethics something that only humans can do, or is there room for technologies as well? When deep brain implants interfere with our moods and behavior, this challenges our ideas about autonomy, free will, and what it means to ‘act’.
Our focus in this courseIn this course, we will focus on the relations between technology and society. We will learn more about the impact and importance of technological developments for individuals in contemporary society, as well as the role of technology in a broader social and political context. Moreover, we will connect philosophical theory to technology development and design: when we understand better how technology has an impact on human beings and society, we can take this into account when designing and implementing new technologies.
Read moreThe Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy can also provide you with a nice overview of what philosophy of technology entails.
Philosophy of Technology and Design: Shaping the Relations Between Humans and Technologies
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