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A. Voskuhl, Engineering philosophy: machine culture and social and intellectual elites in the Second Industrial Revolution
February 7 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
This talk is concerned with the machine culture of the Second Industrial Revolution and the contemporary emergence of the subfield of philosophy of technology. Philosophers newly established technology as an object of philosophical inquiry and started to grasp in metaphysical, aesthetic, and phenomenological terms the realities of the new machine age. Their discussions attracted the attention of philosophically and politically ambitious engineers, who were at the same time involved in a complex process of social emancipation: being a nascent profession, they aimed to establish themselves as members of political decision-making elites, on par with traditional academic elites, who were often humanistically trained and whose identities were firmly rooted in pre-industrial eras. The talk aims to uncover the historical connections between the emergence of technology as a subject of philosophical thinking and the emergence of engineers as a social group and elite in this moment of political, military, and philosophical crisis of modern industrial nation-state building.