Defining Technology

Defining technology can be a challenging business. In a sense we might say of “technology” what Augustine said of time: “What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.”

In any case, here is a pretty good go of it from David M. Kaplan’s Ricoeur’s Critical Theory. It comes from a brief section in which Kaplan discusses Ricoeur’s take on technology and politics:

“Technologies are best seen as systems that combine technique and activities with implements and artifacts, within a social context of organization in which the technologies are developed, employed, and administered. They alter patterns of human activity and institutions by making worlds that shape our culture and our environment. If technology consists of not only tools, implements, and artifacts, but also whole networks of social relations that structure, limit, and enable social life, then we can say that a circle exists between humanity and technology, each shaping and affecting the other. Technologies are fashioned to reflect and extend human interests, activities, and social arrangements, which are, in turn, conditioned, structured, and transformed by technological systems.”

About these ads

2 thoughts on “Defining Technology

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s