Technology and Society: A Philosophical Guide
  • Publication Date: July 15, 2018
  • ISBN: 9781554812806 / 1554812801
  • 240 pages; 6" x 9"
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Technology and Society: A Philosophical Guide

  • Publication Date: July 15, 2018
  • ISBN: 9781554812806 / 1554812801
  • 240 pages; 6" x 9"

James Gerrie offers an up-to-date introduction to the basic issues that have come to define the philosophy of technology: What is ‘technology’? Does technology control our lives? What is technology’s relation to ethics? How does technology influence us? Is the widespread belief in technological progress justified? Later sections of the book examine the application of philosophy of technology to social issues such as climate change, urban sprawl, and automation. Major issues and arguments are presented in an accessible and non-technical fashion, giving the reader a firm foundation in the field.

CHAPTER 1: Introduction to Philosophy of Technology

  • What is Philosophy?
  • Philosophies of …
  • Technological Criticism and 20th Century Social Movements

CHAPTER 2: Defining Technology

  • The Problem of Definition
  • 19th Century Origins of the Word
  • Ancient Origins of the Root Words
  • The Origins of Modern Philosophical Definitions
  • Some Preliminary Philosophical Definitions
  • Arguments for the Pre-eminence of Science in Our Understanding of Technology
  • Arguments for and Against Broadening Our Conceptions of Knowledge and Intelligence
  • Arguments for more Narrow Definitions
  • Arguments for Broadening the Definition
  • Andrew Feenberg’s Concerns about “Substantivist” Definitions

CHAPTER 3: Technological Determinism

  • Does Technology Control Our Lives?
  • The Classic Philosophical Problem of Free Will
  • Causal Determinism
  • Cartesian Dualism
  • The Dilemma of Determinism
  • Libertarian free-will
  • Compatibilism
  • Behaviourism
  • Historical Determinism and the Birth of the Social Sciences
  • Counter Arguments to Technological Determinism
  • Social Constructionism versus Technological Determinism
  • Defenses of Technological Determinism
  • The Luddites
  • What about Free Will?

CHAPTER 4: Technology’s Relation to Ethics

  • Ethical Theory
  • Technological Instrumentalism: “Guns Don’t Kill People”
  • Non-Instrumentalism
  • Media Ecology: McLuhan’s Four Laws of Media
  • Actor-Network Theory: Technologies as Mediators vs. Intermediaries

CHAPTER 5: Autonomous Technology/Technological Dependency

  • Autonomous Technology
  • Four Images of Technological Dependency
  • Dependency vs. Determinism

CHAPTER 6: Technology and Progress

  • The Belief in Progress
  • Defining the Issue
  • Inductive Arguments
  • Arguments from the Unlimited Power of Science
  • Kurzweil’s Metaphysical Argument for Progress
  • Rebuttals to the Inductive Argument
  • Rebuttals to the Scientific Argument
  • Rebuttals to the Metaphysical Argument

CHAPTER 7: Application of the Philosophy of Technology to Specific Social Issues

  • The Relationship between the Philosophy of Technology and Ethical Theory
  • Three Main Moral Lessons of the Philosophy of Technology and Their Application
  • The Non-technological Approach and the Limits of the Approach of the Technological Fix

James Gerrie is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Cape Breton University.

  • — Introduces many of the central conceptual and ethical questions of the philosophy technology.
  • — Examines the history of technology and of the philosophy of technology.
  • — Requires no prior knowledge of philosophy or technology studies, and can be profitably read by the layperson or beginner student.
  • — Includes practical discussion of how the philosophy of technology relates to social issues such as climate change, urban sprawl, and automation.
  • — Questions for reflection and discussion are provided at the end of each chapter.