Technology Defined

I think this is needed. Without a definition of Technology/Technique, much of the book can not be fully understood so I offer the following as a starting point;
Wikipedia: Technology deals with human as well as other animal species’ usage and knowledge of tools and crafts, and how it affects a species’ ability to control and adapt to its natural environment.

Webster: 1 a : the practical application of knowledge especially in a particular area : engineering 2 <medical technology> b : a capability given by the practical application of knowledge <a car’s fuel-saving technology>
2 : a manner of accomplishing a task especially using technical processes, methods, or knowledge <new technologies for information storage> : the branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment, drawing upon such subjects as industrial arts, engineering, applied science, and pure science
From this viewpoint, following Frances Stewart,[38] we shall make the important distinction between the available technology and the actual technology in use. Thus, starting with a broad definition of technology as extending to all the ‘skills, knowledge and procedures for making, using and doing useful things’, we may describe technology as a set of techniques, each technique being associated with a set of characteristics.

Technology is interpreted as an anthropological constant to construct an environment in which man can survive. Acting in the field of technology is to act rationally with a purpose, i.e., in the framework of a means-end relation, and it is employed for coping with “experiences” (Widerfahrnisse) by means of using tools.

The Technological Society by Jacques Ellul

  • In the forward by Robert Merton: defines technique as, “any complex of standardized means for attaining a predetermined result” (p. vi).
  • Jacques Ellul himself defines technique as:  “the totality of methods rationally arrived at and having absolute efficiency in every field of human activity” (p. xxv).
  • Theorist H. D. Lasswell’s definition of technique as, “the ensemble of practices by which one uses available resources to achieve certain valued ends” (p. 18).

My personal definition:
Technology in general can take many forms both concrete and abstract. However, it is born by the intentional actions of Sentient Beings (Human for the most part in this time frame) to change the environment in a way that is both unnatural (by definition) and  more efficient. Once created, technology can persist in either abstract form as an idea or methodology (generally referred to as techniques) or be instantiated as a physical object which may (or may not) require further utilization by a sentient being to have an affect upon the environment.

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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 )

Connecting to %s