By Joseph C. Pitt
Ebook by way of Pitt, Joseph C.
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Additional info for Thinking about technology: foundations of the philosophy of technology
Finally, given the prevailing intellectual fad of hostility to anything concerned with establishing conceptual priority, something should be said about how it is possible in the current climate even to consider proposing a work on the foundations of the philosophy of technology. 2 Despite its popularity, it doesn't follow that that conclusion is warranted. The objection to claims about foundations comes from a slippery-slope argument, which acknowledges that our knowledge of the world is underdetermined by the evidence.
Philosophy tries to explain the world by explaining the interrelatedness of all its parts, both the way it is and the way we would like it to be. It is important, therefore, that philosophical explanations assist this process. As it happens, the social critics of technology do not provide analyses that can be used in this way, for they begin by assuming a privileged point of view about the way things ought to be, rendering their conclusions and their analyses incapable of handling such not-so-trivial questions as: How do you know you are right?
Second, as noted earlier, technical definitions cannot function well with an accompanying theory or model. So I urge that before rejecting the definition, we should check out the model. Finally, this definition allows us to make the distinction we need, which is between the tools and their use. The tools themselves are not the technology; it is the use to which they have been put that marks out a technology, and it is people who do the putting to some use for some purpose. So now, with a definition in hand, it is time to see what kind of a model it suggests and how this will help deal with the philosophical problems technologies pose.