Throughout history, philosophers have been interested in technology, and its impact on society. Plato and Aristotle have both used images of technology to make their points. Here, we explore the philosophical origins and continuity of technology with other branches of philosophy.

Philosophical origins

Those who study the philosophical origins of technology may be challenged internally and externally. Internally, this challenge can take the form of a philosophical bias. A humanist bias, for instance, can prevent philosophers from understanding the relations between human beings and technologies.

One humanist bias posits that technologies are somehow separate from humans. Rather than exploring the human-technology relation, this bias seeks to distinguish humans from machines and to define technological problems as social problems. Moreover, the philosophy of technology may be coopted by analytic schools.

A philosophical concern with technology is a serious challenge, but not necessarily one of professional prestige. A substantial body of informed opinion believes that the public should not know what goes on in its name.

Aristotle’s doctrine of the four causes

During the middle 1930s, Martin Heidegger began to focus on technology as the main theme of his work. He took up the subject of technology in order to develop an interpretation of Aristotle’s ontology. He reconstructed Aristotle’s ontology and interpreted its relevance to the modern world.

Heidegger wrote several essays on techne, some of which are widely read. His early works are primarily positive, and his later ones tend to be skeptical of the value of techne as a mode of knowledge.

Heidegger argues that the revealing of being is not adequately modeled by notions of equipment. His concept of circumspection differs from theoretical knowledge in that it is a historical stage.

Plato’s use of technological images

Using an image culturing medium to deliver a narrative has been around for ages. Although the likes of Gutenberg, Guttenberg is most well known for his print based literary works, he did not have to reinvent the wheel. In other words, the king of the castle has been around for centuries. Using images to deliver a message is nothing new, it has just been elevated to a higher plane.

Although the ol’ fashioned cliche has been around for ages, the digital age of the likes has given rise to a plethora of image cultivators. In the words of Mark Zuckerberg, “We are in the midst of an image culturing craze.” As of this writing, there are over a million images in existence, ranging from a photo of an old man to an image of an old woman.

Continuity with philosophy of science

Several issues have been raised in the philosophical and scientific worlds about the continuity and change in scientific technology. In the history of science, the logical or rationalistic view of science reduces the most important changes in science to the actions of a few historical figures, while the synchronic view of science requires a full context of social and political structures. In the twenty-first century, some philosophers of science have shifted to cognitive science to understand the changes in science.

Historically inclined philosophers of science questioned the assumptions of logical positivism and argued that science should focus on the historical structure of science. They argued that science should not be seen as a set of sentences, but rather a process. Moreover, they suggested that scientific change should be analyzed as an evolutionary process.