Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Technology and the Good Life?$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Eric Higgs, Andrew Light, and David Strong Strong

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780226333861

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226333885.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 20 January 2022

From Essentialism to Constructivism: Philosophy of Technology at the Crossroads

From Essentialism to Constructivism: Philosophy of Technology at the Crossroads

(p.294) Sixteen From Essentialism to Constructivism: Philosophy of Technology at the Crossroads
Technology and the Good Life?

Andrew Feenberg

University of Chicago Press

This chapter directly criticizes Borgmann's theory in light of a philosophy of technology. Borgmann contends that devices or hyperreality need to be “counterbalanced,” not eliminated. On this view, to restrain devices appropriately, we need to counterbalance them with focal things (which can be in the normal sense technological) whose very meaning would be ruined if procured by a device. The device does not need to be redesigned so much as restrained in light of something non-device-like; that is, in the strict technical sense of Borgmann's theory, something “nontechnological.” This appropriation of technology is termed “a spiritual movement of some sort.”The chapter argues that the unifying powers of Borgmann's and Heidegger's “essentialist theories” need to be mitigated with an awareness of the significant differences between various technological designs and developments. The sophisticated developments of modern technology, on his account, allow for a “subversion” of their design for purposes that are more fully engaging and contextual. Roughly, the chapter's two-level theory shows how this subversion can take place between the essentialist theories of philosophers and the attention to “differences” of the social sciences.

Keywords:   philosophy of technology, Borgmann's theory, focal things, essentialist theories, technological designs, social sciences

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.