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Understanding Information Technology : information technology as extension and its implications for the flourishing of the individual

Versluijs, Wouter (2015) Understanding Information Technology : information technology as extension and its implications for the flourishing of the individual.

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Abstract:In this thesis a systematic account of information technology is developed in order to uncover general ways in which it affects human flourishing. With an adapted version of Brey’s extension thesis the following steps of information technology are analyzed: Early computers, advanced computers, the internet and portable information technology. It becomes clear that information technology extends cognitive faculties, material objects, the world and the mind to realize intentions on an individual, shared or organizational level. To normatively analyze these conclusions, an approach is developed that encompasses the Capability Approach with a perfectionist understanding of flourishing. This leads to the observation that information technology is very efficient and convenient, but can also threaten the flourishing of the individual: It can overshadow more valuable ways to realize intentions; the body is neglected; valuable presences are ‘invaded’ and the user’s ability to focus is frustrated. Thus while information technology naturally propagates efficiency and convenience, it thereby threatens opportunities for the individual to develop himself, to flourish. These effects depend on the alternative means an individual can access; in affluent countries flourishing is generally more threatened by information technology than in situations in which opportunities to develop oneself are not a matter of course.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:08 philosophy, 54 computer science
Programme:Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society MSc (60024)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/68950
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