Almost as old as philosophy itself, the philosophy of technology deals with the relationships between people and the environment, and between people and the technical means and methods that they use. The word technology comes from the Indo-European root tek, which is thought to mean “to build a wooden house using wattling”. Several ancient Greek philosophers believed that technologies were innate and learned from nature. This concept has continued to be relevant in modern discussions of the nature of artifacts.
During the Middle Ages, technological progress was great. The discovery of fire increased food sources, while the invention of the wheel made it possible for humans to travel through their environments. In the Industrial Revolution, the printing press and telephone reduced the physical barriers to communication. But these changes also introduced unexpected avenues for crime and financial fraud.
During the nineteenth century, a positive attitude toward technology began to emerge. This attitude lasted until the beginning of the twentieth century. During this time, the study of technology became increasingly comprehensive, focusing on practical aspects and on philosophical issues. In the early twentieth century, Thorstein Veblen expanded the category of ‘technology’ to include industrial arts.
As technologies become more complex, their relationship to larger contexts becomes more complicated. New technologies often spread unevenly throughout the world, and their impacts can be unpredictable.
In the twenty-first century, the internet has emerged as a powerful tool for many people. It allows instant communication, as well as sharing information and entertainment. The rise of social media platforms has been a major factor in election controversies. The internet also has introduced unexpected avenues for financial fraud. However, it has also introduced a wide range of tools that allow people to share important messages with others.
Technology is an area of study that draws on a variety of disciplines, including pure science, engineering, and applied science. A variety of international organizations work together to develop norms and standards for new technologies. Most software aims to make tasks more efficient, while most smartphones check the news six to eight times a day. Most televisions receive signals from the Internet. The new Luddites seek to mitigate the societal impacts of technological change.
Schatzberg has a strong manifesto, stating that his book is a contribution to the rehabilitating of technology as a concept. He writes that technology is a “branch of knowledge” that deals with the relationship between people and the environment, and the creation of technological means and methods. His ultimate goal is to shape technologies toward more humane ends. His book is essential reading for students and will be standard work for years to come.
Technology is an important topic, but determining its meaning requires an understanding of how it works. In addition, it requires an analysis of the impacts of different technological advancements. This is crucial to assessing global change. The complexity of technologies makes it difficult to understand them at a single glance.
The history of technology has been shaped by the ideas and practices of the people who make them. These makers have an active role in defining the desired state and choosing the means and methods that best achieve that state. Consequently, their attitudes are influenced by their own values. Their use of technology is also influenced by the moral slant of these values.