Groundbreaking in its range of disciplines and cultural backgrounds, Thinking through Science and Technology explores how individual and societal beliefs, values, and actions are transformed by science, technology, and engineering. Practical and theoretical insights from philosophers, policymakers, STS scholars, and engineers illuminate the promise, perils, and paradoxes that arise with technoscientific change. This collection of original research develops a philosophical understanding of technology and its inscription in a wider web of social and political meanings, values, and civilizational change. It explores foundational beliefs at the core of engineering education and practice, with an emphasis on the movement of ideas between Western and Chinese scholars, as well as the complex interwoven relationship between ideas from religion, science, and technology as they have evolved in the West. Contributors also critically examine the forces and frameworks that shape the development and evaluation of scientific practice and the innovation and adoption of technology, with an emphasis on national and global policy. The volume offers a critical and timely reflection on science and technology that counters trends toward technological optimism, on the one hand, and disciplinary and cultural regionalization, on the other. Chapters written by prominent and promising scholars from around the world make this a global resource; its breadth and clarity make it a superb introduction for those new to its fields. It serves as an essential reference for established scholars as well as anyone seeking a more comprehensive understanding of social and technoscientific entanglements that permeate contemporary life.
List of contributors: Gordon Akon-Yamga, Jennifer Karns Alexander, Andoni Alonso, Pamela Andanda, Larry Arnhart, Li Bocong, Albert Borgmann, Adam Briggle, Jose A. López Cerezo, Mark Coeckelbergh, Daniel Cérézuelle, Neelke Doorn, Jean-Pierre Dupuy, Andrew Feenberg, Jose Luís Garcia, Tricia Glazebrook, Janna van Grunsven, J. Britt Holbrook, Helena Jerónimo, Tong LI, Yongmou LIU, Lavinia Marin, Glen Miller, Carl Mitcham, Suzanne Moon, Byron Newberry, Jean Robert, Sabine Roeser, Taylor Stone, Sajay Samuel, Daniel Sarewitz, Jen Schneider, José Antonio Ullate, Carlos Verdugo-Serna, Nan WANG.
Glen Miller is instructional associate professor of philosophy at Texas A&M University. He has co-edited Reimagining Philosophy and Technology, Reinventing Ihde (with Ashley Shew).
Helena Mateus Jerónimo is assistant professor in the School of Economics and Management (ISEG), Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal. She has edited Portuguese Philosophy of Technology and is a member of the UNESCO World Commission on the Ethics of Science and Technology.
Qin Zhu is associate professor of engineering education at Virginia Tech. He is the lead author of the 5th edition of Ethics in Engineering.
Glen Miller, Helena Mateus Jerónimo, and Qin Zhu
Chapter 1: Editors' Introduction
Part I: Philosophy and Technology
Ch 2: The Enigma of Technology
Chapter 3: Organization as Technique: A Blind Spot in the Philosophy of Technology
Daniel Cérézuelle, translation by Christian Roy
Chapter 4: Technology as Process
Chapter 5: Political Philosophy of Technology: After Leo Strauss
Chapter 6: The Nuclear Menace and the Prophecy of Doom
Chapter 7: The End of Technology and the Renewal of Reality
Part II: Philosophy and Engineering
Chapter 8: An Engineer Considers Technological (Non)Neutrality: “But Where Are the Values?
Chapter 9: How Engineers Can Care from a Distance: Promoting Moral Sensitivity in Engineering Ethics Education
Janna van Grunsven, Lavinia Marin, Taylor Stone, Sabine Roeser & Neelke Doorn
Chapter 10: Parallel Steps toward Philosophy of Engineering in China and West
Nan WANG and LI Bocong
Chapter 11: The Development of the Philosophy of Engineering in China: Engaging the Scholarship of Carl Mitcham
Tong LI and Yongmou LIU
Part III: Religion, Science, and Technology
Chapter 12: Christianity, Power, and Technological Domination: A Typological Approach to the Church
José Antonio Ullate
Chapter 13: Technology in Cosmic Terms: The World Council of Churches in Amsterdam, 1948
Jennifer Karns Alexander
Chapter 14: Beyond Tools, Means, and Ends: Explorations into the Post-Instrumental Erehwon
Chapter 15: Understanding Bureaucratic Order: The Theological Paradigms of Modern Hierarchy
Chapter 16: What Religion, What Technology? A Wittgensteinian Approach
Chapter 17: Bioethics, Philosophy, and Religious Wisdom: A Critical Assessment of Leon Kass’s Thought
Part IV: Science and Technology Studies
Chapter 18: Ethics and the Search for Scientific Knowledge: The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth?
Chapter 19: A Short History of Science, Truth, and Politics in the United States, 1945–2021
Chapter 20: Moral Narratives of Technological Change in the Early Green Revolution
Chapter 21: Momentum, Interrupted: Developing Habits of Discernment in Engineering and Beyond
Chapter 22: Innovation Policy Driven by the Market: The Second Great Disembeddedness
José Luís Garcia
Part V: Science and Technology Policy
Chapter 23: Irrational Energy Ethics
Chapter 24: Paradoxical Policy in Sub-Saharan Africa: Women’s Farming, Oil, and Sustainable Development
Tricia Glazebrook and Gordon Akon-Yamga
Chapter 25: The Pandemic and Clamor for Vaccines: Ethical-Legal Considerations for Intellectual Property Rights and Technology Sharing
Chapter 26: An Effective History of the Basic-Applied Distinction in “Science” Policy
J. Britt Holbrook
Chapter 27: Technological Risks, Institutional Wariness, and the Dynamics of Trust
José A. López Cerezo
About the Contributors
About the Editors
Carl Mitcham is a founding figure of the philosophy of engineering and technology. His long career has produced landmark works such as his 1994 exploration of the "path between engineering and philosophy," Thinking through Technology (CH,Mar'95, 32-3863). The editors of this work acknowledge their debt to Mitcham as an inspiration for the interdisciplinary essays included in their collection. Scholars from China, Holland, and Mexico join with others from Europe and the US in this volume to examine a staggering variety of topics, ranging from subsistence farming by Ghanaian women to the roots of modern technological power as found in the Hebrew Old Testament. The editors have maintained high standards of quality and language throughout, so that nearly every essay could be the subject of a fruitful graduate philosophy seminar. The six essays in the "Religion, Science, and Technology" section explore issues seldom examined in mainstream engineering ethics works. While none of the essays is a particularly easy read, they all reward close study by the interested reader. Taken together, they provide an encyclopedic view of the relatively new field of engineering philosophy broadly defined and should prove invaluable to anyone who is seriously studying this field at the graduate level. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates. Graduate students, faculty, and professionals. General readers.
Thinking Through Science and Technology is a rich and urgently-needed contribution to our understanding of the built world and our vital human bonds with it. By moving across the boundaries of discipline, tradition and region, while joining newer voices with those of foundational leaders in science and technology studies, Miller, Jerónimo and Zhu open up fertile ground for exploration of the past, present and future of human-technology relations.
Thinking through Science and Technology is the ultimate handbook for understanding the human condition in terms of the past, present and future of technology. It is also a testimony to Carl Mitcham, whose work and example provide the intellectual platform for these essays, by authors from across the globe. Readers will learn something new from each of them, and some—such as Jean-Pierre Dupuy’s and Adam Briggle’s—are gems in their own right.
Three decades ago, Carl Mitcham created the core of philosophy of technology, and now Miller, Jerónimo and Zhu’s volume Thinking through Science and Technology proves the impressive richness and ongoing societal importance of work that builds on that core. A must-read and excellent guide to state-of-the-art thinking about technology.
In a perfectly undogmatic manner Thinking through Science and Technology offers a broad survey of problems and approaches in contemporary philosophy of technology. Coming from many countries, representing very different intellectual traditions, what the contributors share is a sense of passion, if not urgency. The path is short from foundational reflections and laboratory work to everyday questions of how to live in times of crisis. Embarked on this path, what we need is the kind of curiosity and openness to dialogue which this diverse group of contributors brings to the volume.