Mastering Technologies

  • Katinka Waelbers
Part of the Philosophy of Engineering and Technology book series (POET, volume 4)


To enable practitioners to take responsibility for the social role of technologies, it first has to be clear what this social role actually is, and whether it can be influenced by engineers and other professionals involved in technology development. Since Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx, multiple philosophers and sociologists have studied the social role of technology. The first part of this chapter characterizes the positions of several of these authors by explaining their answers to two questions: (a) how deterministic is the technological influence on society? and (b) who or what determines the technological development? The second part of this chapter turns to Latour’s approach to see how his view may help to overcome the seemingly contradicting answers that the authors gave to these questions.


Technological Development Technological Change Police Officer Social Role Social Power 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of MaastrichtMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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