Technology is a practice that involves the creation of artifacts. These are man-made objects and include machines, utensils, and software. They are used to solve problems, meet practical goals, or deliver certain products.
Artifacts and technology are often seen as being value-laden. Some authors argue that technologies can be held morally responsible for their actions. Others claim that they are value-neutral.
Technology is a phenomenon rooted in institutional power relations. It has been influenced by pragmatism and discourse ethics, and many political approaches rely on these models. A critical analysis of technology is a necessary part of understanding its role in modern society.
Historically, science and technology have been very close. This relationship, however, can obscure important differences. For example, Karl Marx did not condemn spinning mills, but he believed that the development of machines was an essential part of the creation of socialism.
However, this ambiguity led to a debate about whether technology had a moral agency. One of the earliest references to this concept came from Heraclitus. His thesis was that technology learns from nature. Another reference is from Democritus. In his account of house-building, he claimed that the process was similar to imitating nature.
Philosophical reflection on technology has expanded during the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution. The focus of these periods was on the role of science in human culture. The scientific revolution began with an experimental approach.
During this time, a positive attitude toward technology lasted into the nineteenth century. This helped to foster a better appreciation for the creative efforts of humans.