Ortega’s Tragicomedy of Technology: Our Starring Role

By Langdon Winner.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Ortega’s search for a historically and philosophically rigorous understanding of technology stresses how precarious humanity’s situation in a technological civilization has become. In this light, the deepest of the problems he identifies is the unfinished mission of “releasing man for the task of being himself.” We find ourselves in a “tragicomic situation,” equipped with unprecedented powers but frightened by our newly won omnipotence. Today the tragicomedy looms before us in astonishing new ways. The arrival of “peak petroleum” and the energy crisis threatens the very foundations of a civilization dependent upon cheap energy. In addition, the onset of a period of rapid climate change caused by burning of fossil fuels presents new realities for which humanity is unprepared and still reluctant to face. Ortega called for serious reflection about who we are and who we will become in a technology infused world. We have avoided that question far too long.

Keywords: Ortega, Philosophy of Technology, Tragicomic Situation, Energy Crisis, Climate Change

International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp.109-118. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 748.186KB).

Langdon Winner



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