Future Fundamentals of Philosophy of Technology; Or, Un-disciplined (Public) Philosophy of Technology

And yes, the following will sound like a manifesto.

Philosophy of technology needs speakers espousing a variety of normative positions, and these normative agendas should be fully elucidated in a manner that they are comprehensible to more than academic audiences.

 

Once normative agendas have been explained and discussed, these same philosophers of technology must engage critics of their normative positions in order to further clarify the various positions. The multiple positions on each topic should be presented by supporters of those particular claims in order to ensure they receive their strongest reading and pronouncement (J. S. Mill, On Liberty, 1859, pp. 67-70). Martha Nussbaum also speaks to this idea.

 

A solely descriptive philosophy of technology is insufficient to help shape the direction of thought regarding human-technology relations.

 

Philosophers of technology must teach, and be taught, to engage more than other philosophers of technology, academics and policy makers. Philosophers of technology have a social responsibility to broader publics that requires them to engage and provide, at minimum, a normative agenda directing future thought and action regarding technologies, both developed and developing.

 

Academic and pedagogical curricula must be developed for teaching philosophy of technology to undergraduate and graduate students. Technological literacy?

 

Because technological development is neither deterministic nor teleological, all normative positions regarding human-technology relations must be held as tenable. Therefore, they will require future defense and explication when such social, economic, political and philosophical criteria that serve as their base are altered by future conditions.

 

Suspension of judgment regarding human-technology relations shall be a last recourse, and any such suspension will have definite and explicit temporal limits.

 

From J. S. Mill (1859) On Liberty: pp. 96-97

I do not pretend that the most unlimited use of the freedom of enunciating all possible opinions would put an end to the evils of religious or philosophical sectarianism. Every truth which men of narrow capacity are in earnest about is sure to be asserted, inculcated, and in many ways even acted on, as if no other truth existed in the world, or at all events none that could limit or qualify the first. I acknowledge that the tendency of all opinions to become sectarian is not cured by the freest discussion, but is often heightened and exacerbated thereby; the truth which ought to have been, but was not, seen, being rejected all the more violently because proclaimed by persons regarded as opponents. But it is not on the impassioned partisan, it is on the calmer and more disinterested bystander that this collision of opinions works its salutary effect. Not the violent conflict between parts of the truth, but the quiet suppression of half of it, is the formidable evil; there is always hope when people are forced to listen to both sides; it is when they attend only to one that errors harden into prejudices, and truth itself ceases to have the effect of truth, by being exaggerated into falsehood. And since there are few mental attributes more rare than that judicial faculty which can sit in intelligent judgment between two sides of a question of which only one is represented by an advocate before it, truth has no chance but in proportion as every side of it, every opinion which embodies any fraction of the truth, not only finds advocates, but is so advocated as to be listened to. (pp. 96-7)

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