From beginner-friendly introductions to comprehensive textbooks on the philosophy of technology, this page features books to suit any learning style. It’s important to note that there is no single best book on the philosophy of technology. The best book for you will depend heavily on your preferred learning style and the amount of time/energy you’re willing to spend reading.
It’s also worth noting that it is not a list of personal recommendations. Personal book recommendations tend to be highly subjective, idiosyncratic, and unreliable. This list is part of a collection of over 100 philosophy reading lists which aim to provide a central resource for philosophy book recommendations. These lists were created by searching through hundreds of university course syllabi, internet encyclopedia bibliographies, and community recommendations. Links to the syllabi and other sources used to create this list are at the end of the post. Following these links will help you quickly find a broader 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….
The following sources were used to build this list:
University Course Syllabi:
- Philosophy of Technology – Adelphi University
- Philosophy of Technology – PHIL 4830 | University of Texas at Dallas
- Philosophy of Technology – PHIL 294 | Macalester College
- Bibliography for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on the Philosophy of Technology
- Bibliography for the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on the Philosophy of Technology
You might also be interested in the following reading lists:
- The Best Introductory Philosophy Books
- The Best Introductory Books on the Philosophy of Science
- The Best Books on or by Martin Heidegger
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A History of Western Philosophy in 500 Essential Quotations – Lennox Johnson
Category: Reference | Length: 145 pages | Published: 2019
Publisher’s Description: A History of Western Philosophy in 500 Essential Quotations is a collection of the greatest thoughts from history’s greatest thinkers. Featuring classic quotations by Aristotle, Epicurus, David Hume, Friedrich Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, Michel Foucault, and many more, A History of Western Philosophy in 500 Essential Quotations is ideal for anyone looking to quickly understand the fundamental ideas that have shaped the modern world.