Download Analytical Philosophy of Technology by Friedrich Rapp (auth.) PDF

By Friedrich Rapp (auth.)

Friedrich Rapp, during this magisterial and important essay on know-how, the advanced human phenomenon that calls for philosophy of technological know-how, philosophy of tradition, ethical perception, and historic sensi­ tivity for its realizing, writes modestly of the grave and ten­ tative state of affairs within the philosophy of expertise. regardless of the professional­ discovered thinkers who've committed time and mind's eye and ratio­ nal penetration, regardless of the big literature now on hand, the numerous and comparative viewpoints of political, analytic, regardless of metaphysical, cultural, even esthetic commitments, certainly regardless of the sincere becoming a member of of old and systematic equipment of inves­ tigation, we're faraway from a passable figuring out of the thrill and sorrows, the achievements and disappointments, of the tech­ nological saga of human societies. Professor Rapp has ready this file at the philosophical realizing of know-how for a stricken international; if ever philosophy have been wanted, it's within the prac­ tical try to locate possible choices between applied sciences, to foresee risks and possibilities, to settle on with a feeling of the possibil­ ity of pleasing humane values. Emerson observed the student now not as a consultant aside, yet as 'Man considering' and Rapp's essay so speaks to we all, business global or 3rd global, engineers or humanists, drained or vigorous, worried or optimistic.

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Strictly speaking, this would imply that an ahistorical definition of 'technology' is impossible. Since technology is a historical phenomenon it could be adequately conceptualized only within its particular historical context. Indeed, the production and use of technological objects always has a concrete historical setting which is itself embedded in a superordinate historical context. The complexity of particular technological systems, the manner of their production, and the actual consequences of technological activity are so different in different times as to incline one to speak of "family resemblances" (Wittgenstein) among different phenomena rather than instances of one phenomenon.

The frrst characteristic of technology is that it is always a factually 22 CHAPTER I given phenomenon. Its actual features cannot be deductively derived from a contemplation of its logical, timeless essence while disregarding concrete, empirical evidence. To avoid arbitrary and non convincing speculations, philosophical analysis and reflection must be based on the contingent facts. Proceeding from such a point of departure, generalizations do become possible. In what follows, this 'inductive' approach will usually be preferred, although the legitimate philosophical interest in the 'deductive' method will be given due consideration.

It is based on a comparison of the share of work done by man himself with that part perfonned by technological devices. As technology has developed, the efficiency of technological apparatus has increased to the same degree that the amount of required human work has decreased. The three ideal types of technological devices are: (1) the tool, (2) the machine (in the classical sense), and, (3) the automaton. (1) A tool such as a knife, an ax, screwdriver, or a chisel is activated by muscle power.

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