The domestication of water: filtering nature through technology

Essays in Philosophy 6 (1):23 (2005)


This paper examines some of the key ways in which water is mediated by technology and human artifacts. I show how the modes in which we conceive and experience this vital fluid are affected deeply by the techniques and instruments we use to interact with it. I argue that a notion of the domestication of water enables us to better grasp our relations with the environment given that vast volumes of water are now neither completely natural nor artificial in the conventional senses of the terms. Instead, water is often filtered through an expansive technological network that not merely changes its flows and phenomenal forms but greatly alters or multiplies its meanings. As examples of this process, I investigate the practical engagement with water by the first Western philosopher; the construction of several large hydrological projects; efforts at river management in the aesthetic landscape; and the emergence of bottled water

Download options


    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,694

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library


Added to PP

23 (#497,862)

6 months
1 (#388,319)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

David Macauley
Pennsylvania State University

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work

The Commons: A Place For No One, A Place For All.Zachary Davis - 2009 - Environment, Space, Place 1 (2):103-129.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Necessarily, Salt Dissolves in Water.Alexander Bird - 2001 - Analysis 61 (4):267–274.
What a Law of Nature Is.W. Russ Payne - forthcoming - Philosophical Explorations.