The Metaphysics of Technology: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Metaphysics of Technology

1st Edition

By David Skrbina

Routledge

314 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Description

What is technology? Why does it have such power in our lives? Why does it seemingly progress of its own accord, and without regard to social or environmental well-being? The quest for the essence of technology is an old one, with roots in the pre-Socratic philosophy of ancient Greece. It was then that certain thinkers first joined the ideas of technê and logos into a single worldview. The Greeks saw it as a kind of world-force, present in both the works of men and in nature itself. It was the very creative power of the cosmos. In the 20th century, German thinkers like Dessauer, Juenger, and Heidegger sought the metaphysical basis of technology, with varying success. French theologian Jacques Ellul argued persuasively that technology was an autonomous force of nature that determined all aspects of human existence, but he neglected the metaphysical underpinnings. Recent writers in the philosophy of technology have generally eschewed metaphysics altogether, preferring to concentrate on constructivist models or pragmatic analyses. In the present work, Skrbina returns to a classic metaphysical approach, seeking not so much an essence of technology but rather a deep and penetrating analysis of the entire technological phenomenon. Drawing on the Greeks, he argues for a teleological metaphysics in which increasing order in the universe is itself defined as a technological process. On this reading, all of reality constitutes a technical sphere, a "pantechnikon," of universal scope. This work — the first-ever book-length treatment of the topic — breaks new ground by providing an in-depth and critical study of the metaphysics of technology, as well as drawing out the practical consequences. Technology poses significant risks to humanity and the planet, risks that can be mitigated through a detailed philosophical analysis.

Table of Contents

Introduction Part I: Metaphysis 1. Situating Technology 2. Technê, Logos, Theos 3. Cause, Teleology, and Transcendence 4. Technology and Cosmic Evolution 5. German Metaphysical Insights: Dessauer, Juenger, Heidegger 6. Borgmann’s "Critical" Metaphysics Part II: Praxis 7. Classical Critiques: Glimpses of the Pantechnikon 8. Recent Critiques: 1900 to Present 9. The Case for Technological Determinism 10. Replies and Refutations 11. Three Case Studies 12. Technology and Human Destiny. Epilogue

About the Author

David Skrbina, Ph.D., is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Michigan at Dearborn.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Social and Political Thought

This series explores core issues in political philosophy and social theory. Addressing theoretical subjects of both historical and contemporary relevance, the series has broad appeal across the social sciences. Contributions include new studies of major thinkers, key debates and critical concepts.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHI013000
PHILOSOPHY / Metaphysics
SOC026000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
TEC052000
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Social Aspects