Questions Concerning Communication Technology in Nursing Practice
Park, Caroline L.
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Martin Heidegger's question concerning technology, initially presented in 1949, has been distilled down to the following dichotomy: Is technology a human act? or Is technology a means to an end? Philosophers continue to debate this issue. The theoretical development of the philosophy of technology is often described as falling into one of the two camps, defined by Heidegger’s question. The “technology as a human act” stance houses substantive theories of technological determinism. The “technology as a means to an end” stance houses instrumental theories of technological neutrality. Within each of these camps there are both pro and anti-technology supporters. In this presentation, the various theories will be presented in a four cell matrix, with the pro-and anti-technology axis being a continuum of the degree of comfort or discomfort with technology demonstrated, regardless of the sub-field (camp). Current philosophical perspectives will be described, as they are situated in the matrix. Each perspective will then be extended to explore the implications of its assumptions for the practices relating to the use of communication technology in nursing clinical education and nursing practice. This exploration will be an introduction to the types of questions that must be addressed and will be an invitation to other nurse philosophers to participate in the exposure of the moral and political questions concealed within the practices related to communication technology.