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Dialectical Technology – Hegel on Means, Tools and the Machine

Filozofia, 2018, vol. 73, No 10, pp. 818-830.
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The paper concerns G.W. F. Hegel’s philosophy of technology. By assuming two methodological strategies – reading selected paragraphs of Hegel’s texts where he speaks about technology and deducing the essence of technology as a concept – this paper describes the key ideas shaping the German idealist’s philosophy of technology. Three main issues are discussed: 1. the role Hegel assigns to the instrumental action of man; 2. the relation between tool production and culture as objectivization of the human being; and 3. why technology is dialectical. The aim is therefore to show that Hegelian notions such as “mediation”, “cunning of reason”, and “dialectics”, were meant by Hegel himself to be used to think about technology, which is necessary to develop their full potential in contemporary discussions about technological progress, and to thus fill the gap in philosophy of technology caused by misinterpretations of Hegel as a pure idealist with no interest in technology.

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