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Introduction

  • Peter Kroes
Chapter
Part of the Philosophy of Engineering and Technology book series (POET, volume 6)

Abstract

The world in which we live is a world of technical artefacts. We live our lives with and through them. It is not so much the natural world as well as the technical world that conditions human life. This technical world not only provides us with the means to adapt the physical environment to our needs and desires. Its influence stretches out much further into the world of social affairs and into the world of ideas. Through the ages, for instance, technology has provided strong metaphors for interpreting what it means to be a human being, such as the man-machine or the brain-computer metaphors. So, the technical world strongly influences human thinking and doing. This book is an attempt to understand what kind of world this technical world is by studying the nature of the basic elements that make up this world, namely technical artefacts. Given their pervasive influence on human thoughts and actions, such an understanding may contribute to, or may even be a requisite step to a better understanding of the modern human condition. To that end, this book addresses a number of questions all of which centre around technical artefacts. What kind of objects are they? What does it mean for an object to be a technical artefact? In what sense are they different from objects from the natural world, or the social world? How do they come into existence? Does it make sense to consider technical artefacts to be morally good or bad because of the way they influence human life?

Keywords

Physical Structure Physical Object Technical Function Dual Nature Practical Rationality 
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. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Kroes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands

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