Print version ISSN 1678-3166
GARCIA, José Luís. On the origins of the critique of technology in social theory: Georg Simmel and the autonomy of technology. Sci. stud. [online]. 2007, vol.5, n.3, pp. 287-336. ISSN 1678-3166. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1678-31662007000300003.
In the thought of Georg Simmel we find a specific attention completely anticipatory, though in embrionic form, on the subject of modern science and technology in industrial and metropolitan society. In the field of social theory and humanities, this puts him amongst the pioneering thinkers in this area. However, these facts have not been recognized, and a deeper analysis of Simmel's work is missing both from currently influential social studies on technology and from philosophical investigations and reflections on technology in recent decades. This essay is divided into four parts: Part one contains a summary of sociological thought on technology in Simmel's time, providing the basis for the argument that he was a pioneer in this field. Part two develops the connection between key elements of his epistemology for understanding society and the way in which, using money as an example, he interpreted exchange by means of objects or artefacts. Part three shows how Simmel understood the phenomenon of technology as a cultural system. Finally, part four rebuilds his Zeitdiagnostik and the visionary arguments he developed in favour of the thesis of autonomous technology.
Keywords : Inner technization; Simmel; Technology; Culture; Factitious bias; Heterogony of ends; Means and ends; Modernity.