The Four Best Books on the Philosophy of Technology

Lennox Johnson Books

This page contains a list of the best books on the philosophy of technology. Just to be clear, there is no single best book on the philosophy of technology. The best book for you will depend on your preferred learning style and the amount of time that you want to spend reading about the philosophy of technology. An 800-page scholarly overview is unlikely to be best for someone looking for a short beginner-friendly introduction, for example. This list aims to take this ambiguity into account by featuring books that will appeal to a variety of learning styles.

Secondly, this is not a list of personal recommendations. It was created by compiling recommendations from a variety of online sources including bibliographies, course syllabi, and community recommendations. You can find out more about this process here. Links to the sources used to create this list are at the end of the post. Following these links will help you quickly find a wider range of options if the listed books do not fit what you are looking for.

Here are the best books on the philosophy of technology in no particular order.

Philosophy of Technology: An Introduction – Val Dusek

Category: General Introduction | Length: 256 pages | Published: 2006

Publisher description: Ideal for undergraduate students in philosophy and science studies, Philosophy of Technology offers an engaging and comprehensive overview of a subject vital to our time.

  • An up-to-date, accessible overview of the philosophy of technology, defining technology and its characteristics.
  • Explores the issues that arise as technology becomes an integral part of our society.
  • In addition to traditional topics in science and technology studies, the volume offers discussion of technocracy, the romantic rebellion against technology.
  • Complements The Philosophy of Technology: The Technological Condition: An Anthology, edited by Robert C. Scharff and Val Dusek (Blackwell, 2003).

A Companion to the Philosophy of Technology – Jan Kyrre Berg Olsen et al.

Category: Overview | Length: 588 pages | Published: 2012

Publisher description: Drawing on essays from leading international and multi-disciplinary scholars, A Companion to the Philosophy of Technology is the first comprehensive and authoritative reference source to cover the key issues of technology’s impact on society and our lives.

  • Presents the first complete, authoritative reference work in the field
  • Organized thematically for use both as a full introduction to the field or an encyclopedic reference
  • Draws on original essays from leading interdisciplinary scholars
  • Features the most up-to-date and cutting edge research in the interdisciplinary fields of philosophy, technology, and their broader intellectual environments

Philosophy of Technology: The Technological Condition: An Anthology – Robert C. Scharff & Val Dusek

Category: Anthology | Length: 736 pages | Published: 2014

Publisher description: The new edition of this authoritative introduction to the philosophy of technology includes recent developments in the subject, while retaining the range and depth of its selection of seminal contributions and its much-admired editorial commentary.

  • Remains the most comprehensive anthology on the philosophy of technology available
  • Includes editors’ insightful section introductions and critical summaries for each selection
  • Revised and updated to reflect the latest developments in the field
  • Combines difficult to find seminal essays with a judicious selection of contemporary material
  • Examines the relationship between technology and the understanding of the nature of science that underlies technology studies

What Things Do – Peter-Paul Verbeek

Category: Contemporary | Length: 264 pages | Published: 2005

Publisher description: Our modern society is flooded with all sorts of devices: TV sets, automobiles, microwaves, mobile phones. How are all these things affecting us? How can their role in our lives be understood? What Things Do answers these questions by focusing on how technologies mediate our actions and our perceptions of the world.

Peter-Paul Verbeek develops this innovative approach by first distinguishing it from the classical philosophy of technology formulated by Jaspers and Heidegger, who were concerned that technology would alienate us from ourselves and the world around us. Against this gloomy and overly abstract view, Verbeek draws on and extends the work of more recent philosophers of technology like Don Ihde, Bruno Latour, and Albert Borgmann to present a much more empirically rich and nuanced picture of how material artifacts shape our existence and experiences. In the final part of the book Verbeek shows how his “postphenomenological” approach applies to the technological practice of industrial designers.

Its systematic and historical review of the philosophy of technology makes What Things Do suitable for use as an introductory text, while its innovative approach will make it appealing to readers in many fields, including philosophy, sociology, engineering, and industrial design.


The following sources were used to build this list:

University Course Syllabi:

Bibliographies:

Other Recommendations:


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