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Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology

Volume 18, Issue 3, Fall 2014

Daniel Compagnon
Pages 203-224

From Risk Management to Democratic Governance of the Development of Technique
Insights from the Work of Jacques Ellul

Using the work of Jacques Ellul on technique and its development, this paper criticizes the technological risk management discourse, which claims that risks are “managed” within reasonable limits. In fact, the inevitability of technological change and the uncertainty associated with technology-induced environmental risks, some of which are still totally unknown, undermine the very possibility of democratic governance of risk. Our reliance on technique and the common belief in its infallibility make it particularly arduous to the follow the path showed by Ellul.

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