The ideas of technological determinism and the autonomy of technology are long-standing and widespread. This article explores why the use of certain technologies is perceived to be obligatory, thus fueling the fatalism of technological determinism and undermining our sense of freedom vis-à-vis the use of technologies. Three main mechanisms that might explain “obligatory technologies” are explored. First, competition between individuals or groups drives the adoption of technologies that enhance or extend human capacities. Second, individuals and groups may become dependent on technologies. Third, technologies induce changes in social norms and values that may come to be enforced through various social mechanisms, including the law. The widespread ideology of the beneficence and inevitability of technological progress in our culture helps this process along.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/0270467612459924
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,163
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Technological Society.Jacques Ellul (ed.) - 1964 - New York: Knopf.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Dealing with the Machine: Strategies of Pilots and Doctors Towards Technological Integration.Ali Ergur - 2021 - Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society 41 (4):99-115.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Enhancement Technologies and the Modern Self.C. Elliott - 2011 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 36 (4):364-374.
I-Object: Intimate Technologies as 'Reference Groups' in the Construction of Identities.Bibi Van Den Berg - 2010 - Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology 14 (3):207-225.
Trusting Our Selves to Technology.Asle H. Kiran & Peter-Paul Verbeek - 2010 - Knowledge, Technology & Policy 23 (3):409-427.
The Looping Effects of Enhancement Technologies.Carl Elliott - 2019 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 16 (1):127-131.
Evaluating Hidden Costs of Technological Change.Joseph D. Martin - 2015 - Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology 19 (1):1-25.
Emerging Medical Technologies and Emerging Conceptions of Health.William E. Stempsey - 2006 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 27 (3):227-243.
I-Object.Bibi Van Den Berg - 2010 - Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology 14 (3):207-225.


Added to PP index

Total views
3 ( #1,357,809 of 2,506,844 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,791 of 2,506,844 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes