Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 33, Issue 1, 2023

Cecilia Coronado AnguloOrcid-ID
Pages 59-76

Instrumental Reason, Technology, and Society

Technological development is accompanied by a paradox: while it often promises enormous benefits for humanity, it can also lead to inconceivable tragedy, including the instrumentalization of the individual, growing social inequality, environmental impact, etc. What causes this paradox? a) Could it be that the nature of technology generates this contradiction? b) Is it the agent that uses it? c) Or is it the circumstances in which technology is used that determine its suitability or disservice? My aim in this paper is to revise nature, causes and political explanations of the paradox. To do so, the first section will give a historical overview of this phenomenon, the second will assess three proposals that attempt to explain its origin, and, finally, the paper will weigh such approaches from the view of the Frankfurt School. Evaluating the paradoxical conditions that surround technology allows us to better understand its role in our societies.

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