Marco Fasoli

Against technological instrumentalism

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: technology neutrality, technological instrumentalism, technological determinism, ethics of technology, technological mediation theory.

explores whether physical artifacts can influence human behaviour and why technological instrumentalism, according to which artifacts are but tools, is an implausible philosophical position. Three different neutrality of technology theses are distinguished, but attention is devoted only to the first, namely to the issue of whether or not technological artifacts can influence people. In the first part, the article explains why artifacts have specific functions, which emerge in virtue of their affordances. In the second part, some examples of how artifacts may influence human behaviour are provided and discussed. In conclusion, the so-called mediation theory is recognized as the most plausible philosophical position about the non-neutrality of technology. However, more philosophical work is needed in order to clarify the concept of technological mediation.

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