The Philosophy of Technology
Throughout the history of technology, philosophical debates have been generated about the impact of technology on society. As technology continues to develop and change, the impacts of these advancements can be both positive and negative.
During the Scientific Revolution, science and technology became directly relevant to human culture. This is particularly true during the time of the Renaissance, which sparked a greater appreciation of human creative efforts.
At the time, science and technology had a positive effect on human thought. Karl Marx believed that technological innovation was necessary for socialism and communism.
In the twentieth century, the term technology was used to describe machines, tools, and machinery that are used for industrial production. It was also used to describe new technologies that are not desirable. It was often used to describe situations in which centralized infrastructure or imported parts are required.
The term technology has its roots in the Indo-European word tek. It originally referred to the skills needed to work with wood. It was later expanded to include specialized expertise.
Some authors argue that the first philosopher to put forward a positive view of technology was Francis Bacon. In his New Atlantis (1627), Bacon stated that “weaving was the first thing to be invented by imitating nature.”
A third early contribution to the philosophy of technology is Aristotle’s doctrine of the four causes. Aristotle wrote in Physics II.8 that “the first causes are the four elements (earth, water, fire, air) and their four qualities (clear, bright, hot, cold).” The four causes are still used in modern discussions of the metaphysics of artifacts.