The Philosophy of Technology

Technology is an abstract way of speaking that generally refers to anything new that has been invented or discovered. The only thing that really limits technology is the limit to human imagination. Technology is used to describe many fields and activities. Examples include communications technologies, information technologies, manufacturing technologies, education technologies, etc. Technology has changed tremendously throughout history and will continue to change in the future.

In order for technology to be defined, it must be re-defined, or it must be made to agree with existing terms such as engineering, medical science, etc. In engineering terms, technology is the combination of human knowledge and technological know-how to produce a product or solve a problem. In scientific terms, technology is the application of scientific knowledge and technology to a particular objective. For example, technology is the field of computer sciences that studies computer technology and how it applies to science, engineering, computer science, etc. Similarly, information technology is the field of telecommunications that studies how information systems, networks, computer applications, telecommunications, and Internet work together.

Greek mythology attributes the creation of technology to the goddess Askania (a). It was given the name “science” when the goddess angered by the puny attempts of her son Uranus and his attempt to create a machine capable of defeating the gods was made to promise to give him a daughter called Ogygia (or “earth”). This angered the goddess; consequently, Uranus was forced to paint his masterpiece The Aetna, the first recorded book in human history. This account is then interpreted by the school of Athens that technology was necessary because without scientific knowledge, man could not properly rule over nature. This was especially true in the area of agriculture, where corn and other farm products were required for sustenance. The use of ploughs and other tools that plowed the land provided a means to increase the yield of the crops thus providing a means to support a greater population.

It is from this period in history that we come to understand that the term technology actually meant something more than just the normal implements used on a farm. It pertains to an abstract philosophy that is present in all fields of human endeavor. In the case of the Greeks, it took the form of philosophical inquiry, which pursued truth using various methods such as mathematics, architecture, psychology, and cosmology. In the case of applied science it related to the application of scientific data to improve how a field of study operates.

As mentioned earlier, applied science and information technology often used the same terminology. For instance, when someone mentions chemical processes or technological innovations, they are referring to the same concepts. Therefore, one cannot be considered to be an authority on either subject because both concepts are necessary for a discussion on the definition of technology. In order for one to gain an accurate understanding of both concepts, it is necessary for them to adopt a systematic treatment. Such a systematic treatment starts with the word science itself.

Science deals with the systematic study of nature and its objects. Thus, it can be said to be a branch of natural philosophy that unites logic, mathematics, and science. Applied science on the other hand, deals with technological innovations and progress, using the techniques of logic, math, and physics. It can also be said to be the progeny of science, which is in turn, the offspring of Greek culture.

The Greek approach to technology is both progressive and rational. It makes use of technological improvements to achieve goals of excellence in everything humanly possible. This means that human knowledge and intellectual capacity have developed so that the development of new technologies is bound to yield positive results in everything humanly possible. The idea of progress according to the Greeks is not relative, meaning that it is a constant in any situation. What may appear to be progressive today may be regarded as regressive later on.

The advancement of human technology in the form of new machines, tools, apparatus, and other such things has had positive effects not only in the sphere of science and technology, but in all aspects of the human condition. All aspects of the human condition have become much more practical through the development of technological capabilities. The modern world would seem very different without the development of such technological capabilities.

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