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Essays in Philosophy

Volume 6, Issue 1, January 2005

The Philosophy of Technology

Steven Benko
Pages 9-28

Ethics, Technology, and Posthuman Communities

As long as technology has been interpreted as an expression of practical reasoning and an effort to alter the conditions of human existence, ethical language has been used to interpret and critique technology’s meaning. When this happens technology is more than implements that are expressions of human intelligence and used towards practical ends in the natural world.1 As Frederick Ferre points out, technology is always about knowledge and values—what people want and what they want to avoid—and to the extent that technology increases power, one has to ask whether technology and/or the use towards which it is put is ethical.2 The ethicality of technology is based on whether that technology threatens or enhances the good for human beings. Therefore, any understanding of technology is never removed from ethics. Beyond the ethical evaluation of technology, technology is critiqued in light of whether it enhances or diminishes what it means to be human.

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