Research Article

Philosophy & Technology

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 221-241

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Technical Mediation and Subjectivation: Tracing and Extending Foucault’s Philosophy of Technology

  • Steven DorrestijnAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, University of Twente Email author 


This article focuses on tracing and extending Michel Foucault’s contributions to the philosophy of technology. At first sight his work on power seems the most relevant. In his later work on subjectivation and ethics technology is absent. However, notably by recombining Foucault’s work on power with his work on subjectivation, does his work contribute to solving pertinent problems in current approaches to the ethics of technology. First, Foucault’s position is compared to critical theory and Heidegger, and associated with the approach of “technical mediation” (Latour, Ihde, Verbeek). Next, a detailed study of Discipline and Punish, results in the identification of two distinct “figures of technical mediation”. Finally, Foucault’s later work on ethics and subjectivation is employed to elaborate an ethics of technology that focuses on care for the quality of the interactions and fusions with technology. Hybridization is central in the approach: it is not to be rejected, neither is it the greatest danger, but it does deserve the greatest care.


Michel Foucault Technology Ethics Technical mediation Hybridization Subjectivation