Accompanying Technology: Philosophy of Technology after the Ethical Turns

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Where have the past 35 years of philosophy of technology taken us? And where should our field go in the years that are ahead of us? In this brief contribution, I will argue that the philosophy of technology, that underwent first an ‘empirical turn’ and then an ‘ethical turn’ in the past 35 years, could benefit from making one more turn, in which the aims of both previous turns come more closely together. While the empirical turn brought the philosophy of technology in closer contact to actual technologies, it tended to lose the social and political engagement that characterized early philosophy of technology. The ethical turn, which largely took place in the late 1990s and early 2000s, compensated for this, but often at the price of reintroducing a separation between technology and society that the empirical turn – or at least the STS-inspired part of its advocates – aimed to overcome. Against the ethical model of ‘technology assessment’, protecting humanity against possible detrimental effects of technology, I will defend an ethics of responsible ‘technology accompaniment’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-54
Number of pages6
JournalTechné: Research in Philosophy and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • METIS-268291
  • IR-77225


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