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How to view and utilize technophobia

Author  :  WANG PING     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2020-11-16

The Philosophy Study on Technophobia

Authored by Zhao Lei, a professor from the School of Political Science and Public Administration at Liaocheng University, The Philosophy Study on Technophobia is a calm reflection on the hot era of technology and a philosophical analysis of technophobia. It doesn't aim to eliminate the technophobia phenomenon, but to transform technophobia into a type of technological salvation through comprehensively analyzing the phenomenon and exploring its positive significance.

Technophobia has been present throughout human history, despite different social systems, cultural environments, and technological forms. Zhao conducts integrative research on technophobia in the history of technology, and analyzes the different forms of technophobia historically.

Through investigating the past and present, it can be determined that the existence of technophobia is universal and long-lasting. Almost all technologies have encountered resistance and rejection in their initial stages, and the double-edged nature of technologies cannot be changed, which means that entirely eliminating technophobia does not conform to human cognitive law and the development logic of things.

In the West, technophobia is mainly defined as feeling unaccustomed to, anxious, and afraid of the problems brought by technologies, which then results in resistance and rejection of technology. Compared with empirical studies in psychology and sociology in the West, this book adopts the philosophical methods of phenomenology. It aims at transcending the limitations of computer phobia, abstracting technology into general technology, and restoring the essence of technophobia to human-technology relationships.

Technophobia shows a negative correlation between people and technology. Actually, the correlation affirms the permanence and universality of technophobia. More importantly, it points the way towards a healthy response to technophobia, namely, to establish a correct human-technology relationship.

Since the relationship between humans and technology cannot be separated from specific social and historical environments, the causes and effects of technophobia vary with social and historical conditions. The correct handling of the human-technology relationship depends on specific social contexts, and it requires the coordination of people, technology, and society. As such, the book builds the overall trinity structure of subject, object, and social context, while exploring the human-technology relationship as the main line.

The trinity analytic model in the book is based on holism. In this context, technophobia is not an isolated phenomenon, nor is it rooted in a single technology or person. This helps avoid the one-sided standpoint in which technopessimists or anti-technologists often attribute the problems arising in a technological society to technology alone.


Wang Ping is vice dean of the School of Education Science at Liaocheng University.

Editor: Yu Hui

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