Technology in the Western Political Tradition
Technology in the Western Political Tradition
Arthur Melzer, Jerry Weinberger, and M. Richard Zinman

Technology in the Western Political Tradition

Cornell University Press (1993)
Arthur Melzer, Jerry Weinberger, and M. Richard Zinman

This well-integrated collection of thirteen papers addresses the intriguing and perplexing issue of whether modern government can handle the problem of technology. The distinguished commentators featured in the volume explore the changing political science of technology and the peculiar difficulties that the technological project poses for liberal democracy and its adherents.

The first part of the book contains essays on the political character and implications of technology as conceived from classical antiquity through the nineteenth century. Broadly chronological chapters outline how conceptions of technology changed from ancient times to the modern program for the conquest of nature, and they show how technology came to be seen as a fundamental problem of politics. In the second part, authors with a wide variety of philosophical perspectives concentrate on their understandings of the meaning of technology for contemporary political life.

The volume’s authors are a well-known and contentious group. Their work demonstrates how the problem of technology concerns not merely the problems of ends and means and the control of unintended consequences but also basic moral and political questions. It brings together thinkers who agree about the depth of the problem while disagreeing about its meaning and possible solution.