Philosophy of Technology 'Un-Disciplined'
Davis, William J. III
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Philosophy of technology (PoT) analyzes the nature of technology, its significance and consequences, and its mediation of human experiences of the world. Classical philosophers of technology describe mechanization as alienating: Technology causes humans to lose their connection with the natural world. Tehno-rationality replaces critical engagement and creativity. Failing to comprehend the essence/nature of Technology, and its consequences, portends disastrous social, political, and economic consequences. Such perspectives, however, neglect individual experiences of technologies. Filling that lacuna, contemporary philosophers of technology challenge the sweeping determinism of their intellectual forerunners and investigate how specific technologies mediate particular human experiences. Their descriptive prowess, however, lacks the normative engagement of classical PoT, and they emphasize micro effects of technologies to the detriment of macro implications. This dissertation describes an 'un-disciplined' philosophy of technology (UPoT) that unites the macro and micro perspectives by providing narratives of human-technology symbiosis and co-development. Un-disciplined philosophers of technology present posthuman and transhuman perspectives that emphasize the symbiotic relationships between humans and technology. Thus, they deny disciplined philosophy's first critical maneuver: define and demarcate. UPoT enables conversations and debate regarding the ontological and moral consequences of imagining humans and technologies as hybrid, co-dependent things. UPoT builds upon environmental and animal rights movements, and postphenomenology, to emphasize pluralist accounts that emphasize the dynamism of human-technology relations. UPoT argues we should imagine technologies as extensions/parts of living things: they do the shaping and are shaped in turn. I argue that such thinking reinforces the habit, already proposed by contemporary PoT, that emerging human-technology relations demand active interpretation and engagement because the relationships constantly change. Thus, we need to imagine a moral theory that best matches the hybrid/connected condition of the present century. Increasing automation in agriculture and surgery, for instance, exemplify technologies mediating human experiences of food and health, thus affecting how we understand and define these categories.
- Doctoral Dissertations