Almost as old as philosophy itself is the philosophical discussion of technology. Aristotle, in Physics II.2, argues that technology should not be limited to imitating nature. He refers to the examples of weaving and house-building.
It is also interesting to note that the Greek word for technology was originally a skill for working with wood. It soon became a more general term, including specialized expertise such as medicine.
In the first half of the industrial revolution, a positive attitude toward technology was widespread. The late nineteenth century was a time of lively discussion. There was a close relationship between scientists and philosophers.
But, during the early twentieth century, philosophical reflection on technology did not increase as rapidly. During this period, comprehensive works were published. They focused on the practical and philosophical aspects of technology.
But, the second half of the twentieth century saw the term ‘technology’ becoming commonplace. It was commonly used by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
It is important to understand the origins of technology in order to appreciate its role in society. It is especially important to understand its role in the economy. New technologies are often disruptive to social hierarchies. They can harm individuals, groups, and the environment. The ramifications of these technological innovations continue to affect our daily lives.
The early stages of technology are sometimes called the ‘death valley’. However, despite these pitfalls, early technologies still make tremendous progress. These breakthroughs are driven by human curiosity and foresight.