Critical Summary on Langdon Winner “Upon Opening the Black Box and Finding It Empty”

Today, the development of new technologies and great progress of science raises a number of questions, which philosophers cannot always answer definitely. In this respect, the question of the impact of technologies on society is one of the most significant and difficult questions.

While attempting to answer this question, Langdon Winner, in the article “Upon Opening the Black Box and Finding It Empty”, discusses the relationships between modern technologies and modern society.

The author stands on the ground of social constructivism but he attempts to avoid the technological determinism, which is very popular in modern philosophy. In actuality, Langdon Winner views the development of technologies in the context of social relations. The author argues that technologies are, in a way, the manifestation of the modern social relationships and they are constructed as an important part of social relations. Moreover, Lagndon Winner lays emphasis on the fact that technologies embody social relations and power. He argues that the development of technologies opened huge opportunities for people to develop economically, socially and culturally.

However, he poses the question about the knowledge philosophers and people should have about science and technologies. He wanders what a kind of knowledge it should be. The author attempts to distance from the superficial understanding of technology as a kind of commodity. Instead, he suggests an alternative view on technologies and attitude of people to them. He insists that it is important to learn technologies in details and understand their essence since it will help to better understand social relations which are highly dependent on technologies.

Thus, the author views technologies as an embodiment of social relations and power.

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