Technology is an important aspect of modern society. It is an economic force and a cultural force. In order to understand technology, it is important to understand the origins of the concept and the implications it has for society.
One of the earliest sources of philosophical reflection on technology is from ancient Greece. The thesis that technology learns from nature was put forward by Aristotle. He wrote in Physics II.2, “Weaving is a kind of imitation of nature.”
Another early source of philosophical reflection on technology is Aristotle’s doctrine of the four causes. His explanation of the doctrine involved technical artifacts.
Other sources include Plato, who believed that technology was indispensable to express his belief in a rational design of the universe. Also, Heraclitus, who was the first writer to argue that nature had a role to play in exemplary human actions.
During the late nineteenth century, philosophical reflection on technology took a critical turn. It was dominated by a number of authors who had been schooled in the humanities and social sciences. Some philosophers have argued that technology should be integrated into the study of philosophy.
The late nineteenth century was also a time when foundational issues were discussed. This illustrated a close relationship between science and technology.
In the second half of the twentieth century, the focus of philosophy of technology changed to a more diverse range of conceptualizations. While some political approaches conceive of technology as a social phenomenon ruled by institutional power relations, others based on pragmatism or discourse ethics.