In this paper we discuss a follow-up step of the empirical turn that we refer to as an “axiological turn” in the philosophy of technology. For a clear understanding of this follow-up step it is of crucial importance to distinguish between values at the level of the object of study, that is, values in technology and engineering practice, and values at the meta-level, that is, values in the philosophy of technology. We argue that a study of the role of values in technology and engineering practice may be conducted in line with our original call for an empirical turn. This is what we refer to as a descriptive axiological turn; it focusses on an empirically informed philosophical analysis of all kinds of values and norms in technology and engineering practice. Our call for a descriptive axiological turn is in essence nothing more than an amendment on the call for an empirical turn. By contrast a normative axiological turn in the philosophy of technology goes beyond the empirical turn; it not only describes and analyses but also evaluates the norms and values in technology and engineering practice. In other words, a normative axiological turn involves taking a normative stance at the (meta-)level of the philosophical analysis itself. Two forms of normative axiological turns are discussed, a reflective and a substantive one, as well as some of the problems and challenges that an implementation of a normative axiological turn will have to face. Finally, we also discuss how recent developments in the philosophy of technology that call for an active role of philosophers of technology in technology development fit into this distinction between a descriptive and normative axiological turn and under what conditions a normative axiological turn may be made.
|Title of host publication
|Philosophy of Technology after the Empirical Turn
|M. Franssen, P.E. Vermaas, P.A. Kroes, A.W.M. Meijers
|Place of Publication
|Number of pages
|Published - 2016
|Philosophy of Engineering and Technology