A Philosophy of Technology: From Technical Artefacts to Sociotechnical Systems

Morgan & Claypool Publishers
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In A Philosophy of Technology: From Technical Artefacts to Sociotechnical Systems, technology is analysed from a series of different perspectives. The analysis starts by focussing on the most tangible products of technology, called technical artefacts, and then builds step-wise towards considering those artefacts within their context of use, and ultimately as embedded in encompassing sociotechnical systems that also include humans as operators and social rules like legislation. Philosophical characterisations are given of technical artefacts, their context of use and of sociotechnical systems. Analyses are presented of how technical artefacts are designed in engineering and what types of technological knowledge is involved in engineering. And the issue is considered how engineers and others can or cannot influence the development of technology. These characterisations are complemented by ethical analyses of the moral status of technical artefacts and the possibilities and impossibilities for engineers to influence this status when designing artefacts and the sociotechnical systems in which artefacts are embedded. The running example in the book is aviation, where aeroplanes are examples of technical artefacts and the world aviation system is an example of a sociotechnical system. Issues related to the design of quiet aeroplane engines and the causes of aviation accidents are analysed for illustrating the moral status of designing, and the role of engineers therein. Table of Contents: Technical Artefacts / Technical Designing / Ethics and Designing / Technological Knowledge / Sociotechnical Systems / The Role of Social Factors in Technological Development / Ethics and Unintended Consequences of Technology
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Additional Information

Publisher
Morgan & Claypool Publishers
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Published on
Dec 31, 2011
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Pages
126
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ISBN
9781608455980
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Language
English
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Genres
Technology & Engineering / Electrical
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Maarten Franssen
This book is concerned with two intimately related topics of metaphysics: the identity of entities and the foundations of classification. What it adds to previous discussions of these topics is that it addresses them with respect to human-made entities, that is, artefacts. As the chapters in the book show, questions of identity and classification require other treatments and lead to other answers for artefacts than for natural entities. These answers are of interest to philosophers not only for their clarification of artefacts as a category of things but also for the new light they may shed on these issue with respect to to natural entities.

This volume is structured in three parts. The contributions in Part I address basic ontological and metaphysical questions in relation to artefact kinds: How should we conceive of artefact kinds? Are they real kinds? How are identity conditions for artefacts and artefact kinds related? The contributions in Part II address meta-ontological questions: What, exactly, should an ontological account of artefact kinds provide us with? What scope can it aim for? Which ways of approaching the ontology of artefact kinds are there, how promising are they, and how should we assess this? In Part III, the essays offer engineering practice rather than theoretical philosophy as a point of reference. The issues addressed here include: How do engineers classify technical artefacts and on what grounds? What makes specific classes of technical artefacts candidates for ontologically real kinds, and by which criteria?​

Maarten Franssen
This book is concerned with two intimately related topics of metaphysics: the identity of entities and the foundations of classification. What it adds to previous discussions of these topics is that it addresses them with respect to human-made entities, that is, artefacts. As the chapters in the book show, questions of identity and classification require other treatments and lead to other answers for artefacts than for natural entities. These answers are of interest to philosophers not only for their clarification of artefacts as a category of things but also for the new light they may shed on these issue with respect to to natural entities.

This volume is structured in three parts. The contributions in Part I address basic ontological and metaphysical questions in relation to artefact kinds: How should we conceive of artefact kinds? Are they real kinds? How are identity conditions for artefacts and artefact kinds related? The contributions in Part II address meta-ontological questions: What, exactly, should an ontological account of artefact kinds provide us with? What scope can it aim for? Which ways of approaching the ontology of artefact kinds are there, how promising are they, and how should we assess this? In Part III, the essays offer engineering practice rather than theoretical philosophy as a point of reference. The issues addressed here include: How do engineers classify technical artefacts and on what grounds? What makes specific classes of technical artefacts candidates for ontologically real kinds, and by which criteria?​

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