Philosophy of Technology


Technology is the application of science to human culture. It is a practice involving the creation of artifacts to achieve a particular end.

There are many different forms of technology, each focusing on specificities. However, the common definition of technology involves a process of bringing a world closer to a desired state.

During the Renaissance, philosophical reflection on technology grew substantially. This is largely due to the increased recognition of the creative powers of human beings.

Some of the earliest contributions to the philosophy of technology came from ancient Greece. For instance, Aristotle wrote in Physics II.2 that “it is possible to imitate nature.” He went on to describe the four causes that underlie the creation of an artifact, and its teleological character.

The relationship between science and technology affects human culture directly from its start. It is therefore important to understand the origins of technology. Understanding the role of technology in society is also critical.

Although science and technology are closely related, there are significant differences between them. Especially when it comes to their interaction. Science focuses on the necessity of a certain course of action, while technology emphasizes specificities.

In the nineteenth century, philosophical reflection on technology was dominated by a critical attitude. Most representatives of the critical attitude were schooled in the social sciences, and had little first-hand knowledge of engineering practice.

Since the mid-twentieth century, there has been a shift in direction, with a more analytic approach to the philosophy of technology. The analytic approach tends to focus on the productivity core of technology.

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