An Ontology of Technology

Techne 12 (1):48-64 (2008)
Abstract
Ontology tends to be held in deep suspicion by many currently engaged in the study of technology. The aim of this paper is to suggest an ontology of technology that will be both acceptable to ontology’s critics and useful for those engaged with technology. By drawing upon recent developments in social ontology and extending these into the technological realm it is possible to sustain a conception of technology that is not only irreducibly social but able to give due weight to those features that distinguish technical objects from other artefacts. These distinctions, however, require talk of different kinds of causal powers and different types of activity aimed at harnessing such powers. Such discussions are largely absent in recent technological debates, but turn out to be significant both for ongoing technology research and for the recasting of some more traditional debates within the philosophy of technology
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