What is a human being? What is (personal) identity? Which cultural and/or natural features constitute human nature? How do human beings differ from (other) animals? In order to find answers to these questions, you have to be able to understand and conceptualize the human condition. It also requires having investigated it within different frameworks, such as classical ontology, economy (Marx), phenomenology, existentialism, and psychoanalysis.
In the twentieth century, authors have argued that technology plays an important role in the constitution of human nature and identity. These authors state that humans have always shaped and extended themselves by virtue of technical tools and artefacts. In our modern era, technology – think of microscopes and MRI scans, for instance - has become an inherent part of scientific investigation and diagnosis. This means it also has bearings on our view of human nature.
This profile focuses on how technology influences and constitutes human nature and human existence. In this context we will also study how traditional boundaries between design and use are blurred in the interaction between humans and technological artefacts. The rapid development of mind- and body-enhancing technologies and their influence on human faculties – such as rationality, self-consciousness, agency, and autonomy – is another important topic of inquiry in this cluster. We will also reflect on the moral impact of these technologies on our lives.
Learn more about the first year of the Master's programme Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society programme at the University of Twente: