Cornell University

Science & Technology Studies Seminar - Heidi Voskuhl, University of Pennsylvania

Monday, November 6, 2017 at 3:30pm to 5:00pm

401 Physical Sciences Building

Engineering and Philosophy: Machine Cultures and Social and Intellectual Elites in the Second Industrial Revolution (1900 to 1930)

My talk is concerned with the machine cultures of the Second Industrial Revolution and the contemporary emergence of the subfield of philosophy of technology. Philosophers witnessed this process, and newly established technology as an object of theoretical inquiry, grasping in metaphysical, aesthetic, and phenomenological terms the realities of the new machine age. Their discussions attracted the attention of philosophically and politically ambitious engineers, who were at the same time involved in a complex process of social emancipation: being a nascent profession, they aimed to establish themselves as members of political decision-making elites, on par with traditional academic elites, whose identities were often rooted in pre-industrial eras. The talk aims to uncover historical connections between the emergence of technology as a subject of philosophical thinking and the emergence of engineers as a social group and elite.

Photo by Charles Sheeler, American Landscape (1930)


Event Type

Lecture, Seminar


Science and Technology Studies


sts, cas, cashum, cascal



Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Trina Garrison

Contact Phone



Heidi Voskuhl

Speaker Affiliation

Department of History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania

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