The Poverty of Essentialism in the Philosophy of Technology

Journal of Methodology of Social Sciences and Humanities 85 (21):69-89 (2016)
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Essentialism is one of the common approaches in the philosophy of technology. Based on this approach, technology has an independent essence, and knowing technology requires knowing this essence. The present article aims to criticize essentialism in the philosophy of technology in the framework of critical rationalism. The paper argues that essentialism is inadequate because it leads to irrationalism and determinism and destroys any ground for reform and critical discussion about technology; instead, it recommends sudden and irrational changes. Secondly, it contains some presuppositions and false doctrines about the evolution of technology and its relation to humans. We will also explain that essentialists’ recommendation to take refuge in art or hold a free relationship towards technology is inconclusive in facing technological inconveniences. Instead, local considerations should be taken into account in the modification process, and they should be carried out piecemeal and in a critical context.

Author's Profile

Alireza Mansouri
Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies


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