An Alternative to an Instrumentalist View of Technology

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Students in technology disciplines often naturally adopt an instrumentalist view of technology. However, Instrumentalism can easily inflate the importance of the one “controlling” the technology, it fails to acknowledge the momentum of technology, and it does not facilitate a moral understanding or evaluation of technology. Substantivism, Determinism, and Critical Theory are alternate viewpoints, but they too have major drawbacks. This paper proposes an alternative view of technology based on the concept of transcendence, which facilitates a threefold moral evaluation of technology based on means, motive, and ends.


Keywords: Technology, Instrumentalism, Transcendence, Threefold Moral Evaluation
Stream: Knowledge and Technology
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Alternative to Instrumentalism: Technology as a Form of Transcendence, An


Paul Grabow

Associate Professor, Computer Science Department, Baylor University
Waco, TX, USA

Dr. Grabow's research interest is technology and society. He regularly teaches Computers and Society, a required course for all BSCS students, and The Cultural Impact of the Computer, an upper-division elective. In addition, Dr. Grabow teaches courses in software design, systems development, and the formal specification of systems.

Ref: T08P0325