The Philosophy of Technology


Technology is a concept that can be interpreted philosophically and practically. It has a long history dating as far back as philosophy itself. The earliest surviving testimony of a philosophy of technology is from ancient Greece, where four major themes are prevalent. The first is that technology is inspired by nature. Democritus, for example, claimed that weaving and house-building were first developed by imitating nature. This idea was taken to its logical conclusion by Heraclitus, the oldest source of the exemplary role of nature in technology.

Philosophy of technology

The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Technology is the first comprehensive volume on the topic of technology in philosophy. Technology is a profound force that has reshaped the conditions of human life for millennia. It cannot be ignored in the pursuit of wisdom. This volume considers both ancient and contemporary sources of philosophical prejudice regarding technology.

This branch of philosophy focuses on the development of technology in society and its ethical and societal implications. It aims to establish continuity with other branches of philosophy, including science and the social sciences. The approach adopted by this branch is analytic.

Value-laden nature of technology

In the education sector, the use of learning and teaching technology has increased tremendously in the last few years, and there is a growing body of research to support this claim. While there is no absolute proof that these developments have improved education, some scholars believe that they have had both positive and negative effects.

Value-laden nature of technology refers to the way that technology incorporates values into its design. Intentionally, technology does this through the implementation of certain features and functions. Examples include the use of speed bumps, which embody the value of safety. Similarly, “safe cigarettes” were developed and implemented with the intention of promoting health, but ultimately ended up causing a host of negative health outcomes.

Moral agency of technologies

This project aims to redefine the concept of moral agency for the era of technology. This new perspective is based on Foucault, who was the first to identify the moral charge of material artifacts. The French philosopher emphasized the importance of the materiality of morality in shaping human behavior. This perspective has fruitful implications for engineering ethics and technology design. It is the responsibility of the designer to materialize the moral charge of a technological system.

The traditional view of moral agency for technologies is challenged by a significant number of scholars. Peter-Paul Verbeek argues that humans and technological artefacts are not separate entities, but form a tight unity.

Design science

Design Science is a field of research that involves the creation of artifacts for specific purposes and their introduction into natural settings. This field is based on the idea that design is more than a theory. It is about the creation of solutions for problems. In contrast to natural science, design science focuses on the creation of new artifacts to solve real-world problems.

Design science is a multidisciplinary approach to solving complex real-world problems. It is a methodology based on science principles, and it fosters the collaboration and synergy of people to develop creative solutions. It is an open and transparent process.

Humanities’ primacy over technologies

While the humanities and the sciences are often considered akin, their respective roles are distinct. Humanities encompass a multitude of disciplines that serve to provide context and meaning to the natural, social, and management sciences. While medical and business professionals must learn the most advanced scientific knowledge, these leaders also need to know the socio-political, economic, and cultural context in which they operate.

Humanities have been an integral part of education for seven centuries. However, the number of humanities majors has decreased steadily over the past 40 years as the number of STEM majors has increased. This has caused many smaller liberal arts colleges and universities to close their doors.