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Shrader-Frechette, Kristin, , . Reductionist Philosophy of Technology: Stones Thrown from Inside a Glass House
1994, Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology 5(1): 21-28.
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Introduction: Mark Twain said that, for people whose only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. In Thinking about Technology, Joe Pitt’s main tools appear to be those of the philosopher of science, so it is not surprising that he claims most problems of philosophy of technology are epistemic problems. As he puts it: ‘The strategy here is straightforward. Philosophers of science have examined in detail a number of concepts integral to our understanding of what makes science what it is. The bottom line is this: philosophical questions about technology are first and foremost questions about what we can know about a specific technology and its effects and in what that knowledge consists’ . Although Pitt points out important disanalogies between scientific and technological knowledge, nevertheless he emphasizes that philosophy of technology is primarily epistemology. Pitt has stipulatively defined ethical and political analyses of technology as not part of philosophy and philosophy of technology. While claiming to assess the foundations of philosophy of technology, he has adopted a reductionist approach to his subject matter, one that ignores or denigrates the majority of work in philosophy of technology. Does Pitt’s bold, reductionist move succeed?

Comment: Good as further reading for philosophy of science courses or as introductory reading for courses specialized in philosophy of technology. It is an easy paper but the topic is very specific, so in this last sense it is more suitable for postgraduates.

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