Momentan arbeitet Winner an einer Publikation zu nachhaltiger Technologie und politischen Dimensionen von Design-Entscheidungen. Stuart und seinen drei Kindern in Valatie , New York. Technologien , wie die Atomenergie , Auswirkungen auf das politische System und die Gesellschaft haben. Artefakt meint in diesem Zusammenhang allgemein einen von Menschen geschaffenen technischen Gegenstand. Die Justierung der verschiedenen technischen Parameter erlaube jedoch nur eine graduelle Verschiebung, keine kategoriale Neuverortung einer Technologie und ihres Wirkungsfeldes im gesellschaftlichen Bereich. Diese illustriert Winner mit dem bereits genannten Schiff-Beispiel.

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But I prefer to think of him as a public historian who raises the very questions many of us are reluctant to ask about new information technologies. This far-sighted and still-timely collection of ten essays explores some the social, political, and philosophical ramifications of these technologies. While he looks at computer networking, nuclear reactors, genetic engineering, the so-called appropriate-technology movement and a variety of other specific issues, his main focus is on the way we think about technology.

He believes that, unlike other forms of human creativity, technology has never been considered a subject worthy of philosophical inquiry. This is reflected in our general approach to technology which is more concerned with "how things work" and "making things work" than with the moral and political significance of technical systems in themselves.

If we are to awaken from what he calls our "technological somnambulism," a condition in which progress is driven by technology itself rather than by the vision and innovation of society at large, then we need a new approach — "a philosophy of technology" — that examines the consequences and wider implications of technology in our lives.

Winner contends that technologies are not merely aids to human activity but also powerful forces that give meaning and direction to our lives. Conditions of power, authority, freedom, and social justice are often deeply embedded in technical devices. The physical arrangements of industrial production, warfare, communications, etc.

Examining technologies solely on the basis of risk and benefit ignores the larger moral and political dimensions, he argues. Moreover, by substituting "risk" for the more straightforward concept of "danger" current debates about issues such as environmental policy shift the burden of proof to those who resist technological innovation. In a beautifully crafted essay called "Mythinformation," he deconstructs many of the silly arguments put forth by Internet enthusiasts about the so-called digital revolution.

He describes the pervasive "computer romanticism" of our times as rooted in a "woefully distorted picture of the role of electronic systems in social life. He also looks at the "optimistic technophilia" that characterizes much of the current interest in electronic democracy.

The notion that new technologies will produce increased democratization, participation, and social equality does not stand up to scrutiny, he insists. Not only have empirical studies shown that powerful groups tend to use new technologies to retain political control, but the whole idea is grounded in a faulty understanding of democracy. Proponents of electronic democracy subscribe to the belief that democracy is first and foremost a matter of distributing information. They maintain that more people need more information because information is knowledge, knowledge is power, and therefore methods to increase access to power automatically enhance democracy and equalize social power.

This is a myth, according to Winner. All rights reserved.


Summary of The Whale and the Reactor by Langdon Winner Essay


IEC 60896-1 PDF

Langdon Winner


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