The Missing Link: How Biology can Help Philosophy of Technology Complete its Ontological Shift

T. Sharon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Contemporary philosophy of technology is usually characterized as being less dystopic, more pragmatic and more empirical than classical philosophy of technology. This article argues that a deeper, ontological commitment informs this move: a shift from a dualist and essentialist framework of human subjects and technological objects, to an understanding of the human and technology as intricately interwoven. This has important repercussions for human ontology, which takes on a fundamentally relational and material nature. But the identification of this anthropo-ontology raises two concerns: it remains all too implicit in the works of philosophers of technology, and further, it should aim to account for the material relationality of the human as a biological organism within the material matrix of human-technology collectives. This paper suggests that a means of addressing this latter concern is to look at models of biological inter-relationality in recent biological theory, where non-dualist and non-essentialist frameworks for thinking the relationship between organisms and their environments are also being developed. It is argued that such biological models can thus help provide a 'missing link' the claim that the human, qua biological organism, is inextricably interwoven with its material environment - within contemporary philosophy of technology's ontological shift.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-145
Number of pages25
JournalTijdschrift voor filosofie
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • biology
  • materiality
  • network
  • ontology
  • originary prostheticity
  • philosophy of technology

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