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.”
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