Philosophical Reflection on Technology


During the first half of the twentieth century, philosophy of technology focused on technological phenomena and the relationship of technology to culture. In the second half of the century, a richer range of conceptualizations has emerged.

Technology as practice involves the creation of artifacts. These are usually man-made objects that have a purpose and are made to serve that purpose. These objects are usually excluded from artifacts are byproducts of the process.

In addition, technology is a cultural force that holds contemporary society together. Technological innovations are often driven by human curiosity and foresight. Some of these innovations are remarkable.

Technology has been used in conjunction with science to create new knowledge. This method of knowledge generation is called experimental science. Often, technology is used to gather data for these experiments. It is important to understand the origins of technology in order to understand its role in society.

Philosophical reflection on science has focused on issues such as the nature of evidence and why we believe that certain theories are true. Some political approaches to technology conceive of technology as a phenomenon that is ruled by institutional power relations. These approaches date back to Karl Marx, who believed that technological innovation was necessary for communism.

Philosophical reflection on technology is often seen as a discipline, but it is actually as old as philosophy itself. The oldest testimony on the subject comes from ancient Greece. In the first century, Aristotle wrote in Physics II.2, “If we say that technology is a science, we mean that it has knowledge of nature. It imitates nature in its construction.” He also described the doctrine of the four causes, which is still used in modern discussions of metaphysics of artifacts.