Boek ‘Technology and Human Development’ (2015)

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Dit is wat andere wetenschappers zeggen over mijn boek Technology and Human Development:

Ilse Oosterlaken has been at the forefront of developing insights on the role and importance of technology in the capability approach. Technology and Human Development is a major contribution to the literature on the capability approach, and it also illuminates the importance of the capability approach for anyone working on technology.

Ingrid RobeynsIngrid Robeyns
Professor in ethics of institutions
Utrecht University
The Netherlands



Engineers are commonly committed by their professional codes of ethics to holding paramount public safety, health, and welfare in their design, construction, operation, and management of a progressively engineered world. The standard engineering education curriculum, however, involves little learning about public welfare. Ilse Oosterlaken’s good book on Technology and Human Development, by engaging with the capability approach to welfare economics pioneered by Nobel Prize economist Amartya Sen is a value contribution to enhancing the welfare regarding capabilities of engineering and engineers.

Carl MitchamCarl Mitcham
Professor of liberal arts and international studies
Colorado School of Mines



Technologies have a key role to play in human development as envisioned by the radically pluralist capability approach. This insightful book is a milestone contribution in this rapidly expanding area of inquiry, skilfully connecting the conceptual spaces of the capability approach with design studies, science and technology studies and philosophy of technology. Based on carefully chosen case studies, Ilse Oosterlaken convincingly explains how the analysis needs to include both an examination of the design details and an account of the socio-technical networks in which they are embedded. Significantly, she points out that the capabilities approach is a useful lens to examine technology use not just in the global South, but globally.

Dorothea KleineDorothea Kleine
Director of the ICT4D Centre
Royal Holloway, University of London

(tevens auteur van het boek Technologies of Choice: ICTs, Development and the Capabilities Approach, MIT Press)

For years, Ilse Oosterlaken has been doing cutting-edge research that brings together two important strands of theory that typically are only addressed by separate communities: philosophy of technology and the capabilities approach to human development. Because Technology and Human Development captures her central insights and presents the most mature articulation of them to date, it’s essential reading for academics and practitioners alike who want to know exactly how design can improve people’s lives around the world, and why successful humanitarian initiatives have to be well-conceived and not just well-intentioned.

Evan SelingerEvan Selinger
Associate professor of philosophy
Rochester Institute of Technology



With a remarkable interdisciplinary approach, philosopher and engineer Ilse Osterlaken, discusses how technologies could contribute to expand the capabilities and agency of people. In a very intelligent manner, she studies the technology–capability relationship in two ways: a ‘zooming in’ on the design details and ‘zooming out’ to the embedding of technical artifacts in society. The result is a compelling book essential for those interested in approaching technology from a social justice perspective.

Alejandra BoniAlejandra Boni
Associate professor at the department of engineering projects
Universitat Politècnica de València


Oosterlaken succeeds admirably in making the capability approach accessible to engineers and designers as well as development scholars and other non-technologists. She addresses the first group by showing how the capability approach can come to play a central role in engineering design, especially how it ties in with value sensitive and participatory design. She shows development scholars and non-technologists how the capability approach embraces the slow race because it avoids the extremes of the fast race and the race to the “universal fix.” Finally, she srategically chooses case studies in community development to show how the capability approach can provide development scholars with a normative framework based on agency, well-being, and justice.

William Frey
Professor of Business Ethics
University of Puerto Rico



(de eerste vier quotes komen van de achterflap van het boek, de laatste is een citaat uit een recensie in het Journal of Human Development and Capabilities)