Philosophy of Technology


Technology is a branch of knowledge that deals with the relationship of society and science. It includes techniques, methods and processes of applying scientific discoveries to human society.

Technological innovations have greatly shaped the world. The invention of the wheel and the printing press were two milestones that helped humans travel across their environment.

Humans have also invented many weapons that have caused damage. While technology has provided many benefits, it can also have a negative impact. Many dystopian novels focus on the dangers of modern technology.

The word “technology” was first used in the 17th century. The term was originally referring to techniques, tools, and applied arts. However, the term later came to mean machinery and processes.

The word originated from ancient Greek words that translated into art, language, speech, and science. During the Renaissance, philosophers’ interest in technology grew.

One of the first contributions to philosophical reflection on technology was written by the early philosopher Aristotle. He wrote in Physics II.8, 199a15, that the invention of the wheel and the weaving machine was the result of mimicking nature.

The early development of technology is a step-by-step process. Often, promising early technologies become stalled in mid-development.

These early technologies can be referred to as the ‘death valley’. But as the early stages of technology gain more and more understanding, they eventually move on to a more complex stage.

In the late nineteenth century, philosophy of technology became dominated by representatives of the critical attitude. Those in the critical attitude were generally educated in the social sciences and humanities. They had little or no experience in engineering practice.