Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology

Volume 24, Issue 3, 2020

Shachar Freddy Kislev
Pages 376-404

Six Hegelian Theses about Technology

Hegel has long been considered a major thinker of progress. This paper extends Hegel’s philosophy of progress into an outline of a philosophy of technology. It does this not by directly reading the little Hegel wrote on the subject, but by introducing six central Hegelian ideas that bear on the technological thought. It argues that, for Hegel, (1) mankind is destined to change its destiny; (2) that true change involved qualitative change; (3) that true change is conceptual, and not material, change; (4) that history progresses immanently according to its own laws; (5) that history progresses towards ever greater artificiality; and that (6) artificiality is closely linked to freedom. These ideas cohere into a Hegelian metaphysics of technology, which is supportive of the technological enterprise. This paper is meant both to sketch a metaphysical understanding of the technological enterprise, and to trace the intellectual roots of contemporary technological utopianism.