Critical philosophy of technology: The basic issues

Social Epistemology 22 (1):51 – 70 (2008)
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Abstract

This paper proposes a framework for a critical philosophy of technology by discussing its practical, theoretical, empirical, normative and political dimensions. I put forward a general account of technology, which includes both similarities and dissimilarities to Andrew Feenberg's instrumentalization theory. This account characterizes a technology as a "(type of) artefactual, functional system with a certain degree of stability and reproducibility". A discussion of how such technologies may be realized discloses five different levels at which alternative choices might be made. On this basis, I argue that a critical philosophy of technology should analyse and assess the choices that have, and have not, been made in actual practice, and contribute to social experiments that aim at more democratic and more desirable alternatives.

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Hans Radder
VU University Amsterdam