O'Reilly logo

A Companion to the Philosophy of Technology by Vincent F. Hendricks, Stig Andur Pedersen, Jan Kyrre Berg Olsen Friis

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Dilemmas of Determinism

Discussion of the common concerns of philosophers of technology and historians of technology must include mention of “technological determinism.” As noted above, philosophers and historians have not seen eye to eye when examining the problem of whether, if and how technology brings about social and cultural changes. In their more or less essentialistic framing of the problem a generation ago, philosophers of technology were among the most enthusiastic proponents of the notion of technology as a strong and compelling force for change in history, while historians of technology took great pains to attack any and all forms of technological-determinist arguments (Smith and Marx 1994). Differences in the analytical “scale” at which scholars conduct their studies help account for these explanatory differences (Edwards 2003; Misa 2004b). The cases of military technology and Western technology, which are often cited as leading examples in assessments of the power of technology, offer rich material to explore and assess the dilemmas of determinist accounts of technology.

Bart Hacker frames his essay on “Technology and War” in an interactive framework. “The interplay of military institutions and changing technology has regularly made history,” he maintains. His essay presents a richly textured account, over a very long span of human history, of these interactions. His model is that military institutions are both key sites of technical innovation and critical vectors ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required