Philosophical Reflection on Technology


During the Renaissance period, philosophical reflection on technology increased. This led to a better appreciation of human creative efforts.

The concept of technology has a strong root in Indo-European languages. In a broader sense, technology can be defined as the use of material objects, artifacts, and artifact-based services for a variety of purposes.

There are two cores involved in the processes of technology: the instrumental and the productivity cores. The instrumental core is the one involving processes of producing artifacts, services, and artifact-based services. The productivity core is the one involving processes of generating, implementing, and disseminating ideas, theories, and scientific knowledge.

In the late nineteenth century, the critical attitude predominated in philosophical reflection on technology. It was primarily represented by scientists and technologists who were schooled in the humanities and social sciences, and who did not have any first-hand knowledge of engineering practice.

This attitude was accompanied by a positive view of technology. For example, Samuel Butler wrote Erewhon, which was published during the Industrial Revolution. The characters in Erewhon believed that technical improvements would eventually lead to machines that would dominate society.

This positive attitude lasted until the first half of the industrial revolution. During this period, many comprehensive works were written, and some of them focused on philosophical aspects of technology.

During the mid-twentieth century, the concept of technology was increasingly common, and computer capability rose. As the IT industry evolved, the cost of devices dropped.

As new technologies became available, the cycle continued. Many businesses developed new products with technology. The result was an increase in production, as well as a decrease in energy consumption.