The ‘Empirical’ in the Empirical Turn: A Critical Analysis

Mariska Thalitha Bosschaert*, Vincent Blok

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


During the second half of the twentieth century, several philosophers of technology argued that their predecessors had reflected too abstractly and pessimistically on technology. In the view of these critics, one should study technologies empirically in order to fully understand them. They developed several strategies to empirically inform the philosophy of technology and called their new approach the empirical turn. However, they provide insufficient indications of what exactly is meant by empirical study in their work. This leads to the critical question of what counts as an empirically informed philosophy of technology in the empirical turn. In order to answer this question, we first elaborate on the problems that the empirical turn philosophers tried to address; secondly, we sketch their solutions, and, thirdly, we critically discuss their conceptions of empirical study. Our critical analysis of the empirical turn contributes to new efforts to engage in an empirically informed philosophy of technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-804
JournalFoundations of Science
Issue number2
Early online date28 Mar 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Mar 2022


  • Analytical philosophy of technology
  • Critical theory of technology
  • Empirical turn
  • Philosophy of technology
  • Postphenomenology


Dive into the research topics of 'The ‘Empirical’ in the Empirical Turn: A Critical Analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this