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

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Chapter 50

Technology and Politics

EVAN SELINGER

Technological concerns are central to political history, political theory and political action. Since democracy requires a well-informed citizenry, civic responsibility is abdicated when the public does not make a concentrated effort to understand the conceptual and material links that connect technology and politics. Of course, the responsibility for being well informed does not fall solely on citizens themselves. Since information is presented and received in contextually specific ways, injustice occurs when the following events transpire: public education fails to prioritize the relevant issues; media bias diverts attention from matters of genuine concern and clouds real issues through spin; governments make bad-faith appeals to secrecy and security; and inequitable access to data marginalizes individuals and groups. In short, without a deep understanding of how ideas about and decisions concerning technology impact political processes, and without a sophisticated grasp of how political processes impact the development, distribution and use of technology, neither global nor local affairs can be comprehensively grasped or intelligently evaluated.

Given the profound inter-relation between technology and politics, as well as the difficulty of finding rigorous and appropriately critical frameworks to illuminate the central issues, the articles found in this section should not be seen as mere academic summaries. While they synthesize ...

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