Pistols, pills, pork and ploughs: the structure of technomoral revolutions

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-33 (forthcoming)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The power of technology to transform religions, science, and political institutions has often been presented as nothing short of revolutionary. Does technology have a similarly transformative influence on societies’ morality? Scholars have not rigorously investigated the role of technology in moral revolutions, even though existing research on technomoral change suggests that this role may be considerable. In this paper, we explore what the role of technology in moral revolutions, understood as processes of radical group-level moral change, amounts to. We do so by investigating four historical episodes of radical moral change in which technology plays a noteworthy role. Our case-studies illustrate the plurality of mechanisms involved in technomoral revolutions, but also suggest general patterns of technomoral change, such as technology’s capacity to stabilize and destabilize moral systems, and to make morally salient phenomena visible or invisible. We find several leads to expand and refine conceptual tools for analysing moral change, specifically by crystallizing the notions of ‘technomoral niche construction’ and ‘moral payoff mechanisms’. Coming to terms with the role of technology in radical moral change, we argue, enriches our understanding of moral revolutions, and alerts us to the depths of which technology can change our societies in wanted and unwanted ways.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 89,703

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Nanotechnology and Technomoral Change.Tsjalling Swierstra - 2013 - Etica E Politica 15 (1):200-219.
Whose Art Are We Talking About?Ike Kamphof - 2017 - Foundations of Science 22 (2):429-432.
Honor and Moral Revolution.Victor Kumar & Richmond Campbell - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (1):147-59.
Three Metaphors toward a Conception of Moral Change.Nora Hämäläinen - 2017 - Nordic Wittgenstein Review 6 (2):47-69.
Art and Moral Revolution.Kenneth Walden - 2015 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 73 (3):283-295.
Moral psychology for the twenty-first century.Jonathan Haidt - 2013 - Journal of Moral Education 42 (3):281-297.
Climate Change Inaction and Moral Nihilism.Thomas Pölzler - 2015 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 18 (2):202-214.


Added to PP

54 (#260,863)

6 months
17 (#105,682)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Julia Simone Hermann
Utrecht University
Michael Klenk
Delft University of Technology
Elizabeth O'Neill
Eindhoven University of Technology
5 more

References found in this work

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Ian Hacking.
The ethical project.Philip Kitcher - 2011 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
The expanding circle: ethics, evolution, and moral progress.Peter Singer - 2011 - Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

View all 34 references / Add more references