Philosophy of Technology


As the term implies, technology is a field of study that is concerned with developing a particular method or process. This practice, also known as engineering design, is central to the process of engineering. The operational principle is a central concept of engineering design, but it is not clear how it should be defined. This means that we need a more comprehensive conception of the concept to fully understand its nature and potential.

Philosophers have long pondered the philosophy of technology. The earliest philosophical testimony on the topic dates back to ancient Greece. Philosophers there argued that technology learns from nature. For example, Democritus claimed that weaving and house-building were first invented by imitating nature. This view is still prevalent in modern science and philosophy.

Philosophers of technology have been interested in the relationship between action and rationality. The history of philosophy of technology shows the slow confluence of various strands of philosophical thought. There is no single origin for the development of technology, but a gradual emergence of different strands. The academic outsider Paul Ellul has argued that technology has become a dominant answer to the questions of human knowledge and action.

Technological artifacts have goals and functions that may be morally ambiguous. Philosophers of technology disagree on whether technology is morally responsible or not, but most believe that it is intrinsically neutral. In either case, technology is a social construct with a purpose.

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