Theology & technology : an exploration of their relationship with special reference to the work of Albert Borgmann and intelligent transportation systems
This thesis summarizes a large body of literature concerning the sociology, рhilosophy, and history of technology and the specific set of technologies concerned with Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). It considers technologies of various kinds within the Old and New Testaments and how technology has been understood and occasionally discussed by contemporary theologians. Intelligent Transportation Systems are a very prominent area of modem technologies that will shape the future of society in profound ways. The overall field of ITS is described and then a specific case study concerning a set of automated highway systems applications within three states and two large national parks within the United States is presented. The case study then provides a backdrop to explore specific ways in which theology might engage in a conversation with intelligent transportation systems specifically and technology more generally. Since theologians have written relatively little about technology, we draw upon the work of a leading philosopher of technology who is informed by his Christian commitments, Albert Borgmaim. The extensive philosophy of Bergmann about technology and the character of contemporary life is described. Various considerations about how to create, foster, and maintain a sustained dialogue between disparate intellectual traditions and disciplines are suggested. This includes attention to goals for dialogue, respective strengths that various parties bring to the conversation, and the willingness to hear and learn from the other. A framework to categorize interactions between theology and technology is introduced. Borgmann's ideas, coupled with those of other theologians and philosophers are then applied to the case study. The worth of this approach is then assessed in light of what theologians might contribute to discussion and decision-making about technological systems and devices facing toward the future. Consideration is also given to what technology might contribute to the theological enterprise. The investigation demonstrates the importance of such dialogues and the viability of initiating them.