Philosophy and Technology
ABSTRACT: This paper deals the place of technology in contemporary culture, and the relationship between science and morality. A definition of technique as a social process has to emphasize the fact that technique means developing and enabling different fabricated material systems; it is also the action of environment transformation according to human necessities. The area of culture is not limited to classical values, conceived with traditional meanings, arts and human sciences, but also covers the values of the natural and technical sciences as well as the whole set of values implied by technique and technology. Far from being a marginal component of culture, technology interacts internally with philosophical fields such as epistemology, ontology, value theory, and ethics. It also partly overlaps partly with other fields. I suggest that science should not be considered as free of value and neutral from a moral viewpoint both because the scientist makes valuable judgments during scientific activity and because the applications of science have moral value and raise moral problems. There is thus a need for moral control that would deter the scientists from evildoing. The need for wisdom and a clear scientific attitude in our contemporary technical civilization is emphasized.
Technology and culture. Some of the philosophical problems the nowadays technique and technology are confronted with are related to the definition of concepts, the cultural value contained in them, and place they have in the European culture. In what it concerns the concepts of technique and technology, a consensus does not exist. The Romanian Encyclopedic Dictionary (1966) gives the following definitions, according to a wide-spread conception:
Technique = "the set of the material production factors (tools and other working equipment), of the working methods and procedures used by society to obtain and transform the natural products to satisfy its needs";
Technology = (1) "the science that deals with the study, elaboration and determination of the processes, methods and procedures of materials transformation", (2) "the set of processes, methods, procedures, rules, operations, phases, technical conditions applied or executed with the aim of obtaining (producing) a certain product".
Similar definitions may be found in the greatest part of traditional works. Le Dictionnaire Lalande (1956) remains in the same frame (with a certain plus of accuracy): "the set of well defined and transmissible procedures meant to produce useful results", but signals two acceptations different than the current sense. There are mentioned the definition of A. Espinos (1891), who says that the technique would be "an organized set" of methods based on the scientific knowledge, and the meaning used mostly in the experimental biology and psychology, according to which the technique is "the set of processes used to perform a certain function". Saint Bernard...