The philosophy of technology and communication systems

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In Western intellectual history, from classical Greece until today, there are three philosophical approaches to technology: Aristotle’s teleology, Marx’s materialism, and Heidegger’s existentialism. Each is theoretically distinct. For the vitality of media and communication theory in the complicated days ahead, the philosophies of technology rooted in Marx and in Heidegger are the most productive ones. A review of these three paradigms lays the groundwork for applying philosophical theories of technology to communication systems and for assessing that application. The philosophy of technology has two primary applications to media and mass communication theory: triadic theories and cultural continuity. Within the philosophy of technology itself, Marx’s materialism and Heidegger’s existentialism have achieved legitimacy as alternatives to an intellectually weaker instrumentalism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Media and Mass Communication Theory
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781118591178
ISBN (Print)9780470675052
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Aristotle
  • Communication systems
  • Existentialism
  • Instrumentalism
  • Karl marx
  • Martin heidegger
  • Mass communication theory
  • Media
  • Philosophy of technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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