Phenomenology and the autonomy of technology
Is technology autonomous? Generally speaking, the attempts to address the question concerning the autonomy of technology fall into one of two categories. On the one hand, there are those who would underscore the autonomous character of technology 2 to such a degree that they come perilously close to falling into the trap of not being able to speak in a consistent and meaningful manner of humanity's responsibility to itself and of its role in the erection and nurturance of technology and its consequences. On the other hand, there are others who construe technology as essentially neutral and devoid of a logic or independent life of its own. According to the theorists and practitioners of this latter view, the good or bad results of technology are not really of its own doing; such consequences stem, rather, from the use (or abuse) that human beings make of technology.3 On the surface at least, it appears as though the first view regarding the autonomy of technology would ascribe to technology so much autonomy as to render human beings powerless against its deleterious effects, while the second view would ascribe to human beings so much control over technology that it fails to take seriously enough the autonomy of technology vis-à-vis the will and intention of its progenitors.
Jalbert, J.E. (1987)., Phenomenology and the autonomy of technology, in P. T. Durbin (ed.), Technology and responsibility, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 85-98.
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