The Alarmist View of Technology

  • Raphael Sassower
Part of the Philosophy and Technology book series (PHTE, volume 7)


Individuals and institutions can adopt either a collective technophobia and attempt to ignore or to minimize their use of technology, or they can adopt a technophilia and enthusiastically maximize their dependence on and support of technology without any concern for important risk factors.1 Between these two extreme responses to technology there is a third possibility that attempts to achieve some equilibrium, accounting for the problems associated with technology without thereby condemning technology as a whole. The third option expects to optimize the advantages technology has to offer, while keeping under control most of the potential drawbacks associated with technology.2


Technological Society Contemporary Life Democratic Structure Narrative Experiment Modem Society 
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  1. 1.
    I wish to thank Gayle L. Ormiston, Charla Ogaz, and two anonymous referees for their critical suggestions on earlier drafts of this paper. The terms “technophilia” and “technophobia” are discussed in Alan R. Drengson, “Four Philosophies of Technol¬ogy,” in L. Hickman, ed., Philosophy, Technology, and Human Affairs ( College Station, Tex.: Ibis Press, 1985 ).Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Albert Borgmann, Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life: A Philosophical Inquiry ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984 ).Google Scholar
  3. 10.
    Max Weber, Economy and Society ( Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978 ).Google Scholar
  4. 11.
    Thorstein Veblen ’s Articles in the Dial (1919) were published as a book in 1921: The Engineers and the Price System ( New York: Huebsch, 1921 ).Google Scholar
  5. 14.
    Martin Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1954), in David Farrell Krell’s edition of Martin Heidegger’s Basic Writings (New York: Harper & Row, 1977), pp. 289, 308–309, 314–315.Google Scholar
  6. 16.
    Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society ( Boston: Beacon Press, 1964 ).Google Scholar
  7. 18.
    Ibid., p. 133. See also Langdon Winner, Autonomous Technology: Technics-Out- of-Control as a Theme in Political Thought ( Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1977 ).Google Scholar
  8. 23.
    See Mulford Q. Sibley, Technology and Utopian Thought ( Minneapolis: Burgess, 1971 ).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raphael Sassower
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Colorado at Colorado SpringsUSA

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