Philosophical Reflection on Technology and Engineering


Technology is a powerful force in society. It allows us to communicate in real time with one another and with the rest of the world. However, it also has significant limitations in terms of time and money. As a result, it is important to develop an analysis of the best ways to discover technology. Though little philosophical work has been done on the topic, some recent books have offered a good overview of the problem.

The philosophical discussion of technology and engineering has been dominated by a critical attitude. The representatives of this attitude were typically educated in the humanities or social sciences, and they lacked first-hand experience in engineering practice. Bacon, for instance, wrote extensively on the method of science. Butler, a clergyman, and Ernst Kapp, a philologist and historian, are also representatives of the critical school.

Philosophical reflection about technology began during the Renaissance. As technology improved, philosophical reflection became more widespread. The most notable work is New Atlantis (1627), which is considered one of the earliest modern works to express such a view. This attitude persisted into the nineteenth century and the first half of the industrial revolution. However, these authors did not share Bacon’s view of technology.

A better understanding of technology and engineering involves understanding its origins and how it has influenced society. As a practice, technology focuses on the creation of artifacts and artifact-based services. This involves a process called the design process, which is a systematic sequence of steps that leads towards a goal. During this process, customer needs and wishes are considered.