In my previous post, I presented a few references. I went on reading books and articles on this topic, and I am now able to sort them in several kinds of approaches.

This is mostly thanks to these books in French on philosophy of technology:

  • G. Simondon, L’invention dans les techniques : cours et conférences, Paris: Seuil, 2005.
  • G. Hottois, Philosophies des sciences, philosophies des techniques, Paris: Odile Jacob, 2004.
  • J. Goffi, La philosophie de la technique, Presses Universitaires de France, 1988.
  • G. Hottois, Le signe et la technique : la philosophie à l’épreuve de la technique, Paris: Aubier, 1984.

In his second lesson at the Collège de France (Philosophies des sciences, philosophies des techniques, p. 94-118), Gilbert Hottois tries to provide a state-of-the-art in philosophy of technology: he describes several traditions and backgrounds. Here is how things started:

  1. A German origin of the reflexion on technology (Ernst Kapp, Friedrich Dessauer) which is mostly analyzed by engineers who shed a new light on this topic and try to think it as a system. The VDI (Verein Deutscher Ingenieure) continues this tradition. From 1956 onwards, this association organizes a series of meetings entitled Man and Technology which notably sees the question of Technology Assessment arise. People like Günter Ropohl, Aloïs Huning, Hans Lenk or Matthias Maring take part to these events. On a separate basis, German philosophers like Martin Heidegger, Karl Jaspers, Max Horkheimer or Jürgen Habermas think technology within a merely philosophical tradition. The VDI and the professional philosophers are not in contact with each other.
  2. In France only a few philosophers show real interest for this topic. The reflexion of Henri Bergson is worth a look but publications specifically devoted to technology startin the 50s with Pierre Ducassé and Gilbert Simondon. Still, in the 60s and 70s books on this topic are rare. The ideas of Simondon are later continued by André-Georges Haudricourt.
  3. It is in the USA that philosophy of technology is going to become institutional, first through the bibliographical work of Carl Mitcham and Robert Mackey in the early 70s and then mostly with Paul T. Durbin and his meetings at the University of Delaware. The work of Don Ihde is related to this background.

Last time I quoted books by Günter Ropohl, Don Ihde and André-Georges Haudricourt who come from different thinking traditions and thus pursue different objectives.