Technological Determinism: A Reductionist Theory

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Technological Determinism Technological determinism is a reductionist theory that aims to provide a causative link between technology and a society’s nature. It tries to explain as to whom or what could have a controlling power in human affairs. The theory questions the degree to which human thought or action is influenced by technological factors. The term ‘technological determinism’ was coined by Thorstein Veblen and this theory revolves around the proposition that technology in any given society defines its nature. Technology is viewed as the driving force of culture in a society and one that determines its course of history. Karl Marx believed that technological progress lead to newer ways of production in a society and this ultimately influenced the cultural, political and economic aspects of a society, thereby inevitably changing society itself. He explained this statement with the example of how a feudal society that used a hand mill slowly changed into an industrial capitalist society with the introduction of the steam mill. Winner’s Hypotheses Langdon Winner provided two hypotheses for this theory: 1. The technology of a given society is a fundamental influencer of the various ways in which a society exists. 2. Changes in technology are the primary and most important source that leads to change in the society. An offshoot of the above hypotheses which is not as extreme is the belief that technology influences the various choices that we make and therefore a
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