INTRODUCING VAN RIESSEN’S WORK IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF TECHNOLOGY

Philosophia Reformata

In this issue that is dedicated to Hendrik van Riessen, it seems appropriate to start with an introduction to his work. I will show how he served as one of the first Dutch philosophers of technology and worked on themes that only much later would appear on the research agenda of the international philosophy of technology community. This gives him a rather unique position in the history of the philosophy of technology. I will start by showing how his background qualified Van Riessen to become one of the few philosophers of technology in his time who were able to analyze the nature of technology, based on an ‘insiders’ engineer’s perspective. Then I will discuss the main themes in his analytical philosophy of technology. Not only did he contribute to the analytical philosophy of technology, but also to the critique on the role of technology in culture and society. Finally, I will show how his work is relevant for contemporary research in the philosophy of technology, both for his successors in the reformational philosophy of technology and outside that philosophical stream.

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