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A Companion to the Philosophy of Technology by Vincent F. Hendricks, Stig Andur Pedersen, Jan Kyrre Berg Olsen Friis

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From History to Philosophy

The historiological problem of accounting for the uniquely European origins of modern technology remains a somewhat parochial discussion in regard to the attitudes of various world religions toward technology. A broader discussion of religion and technology attempts to analyze and consider intrinsic affinities or tensions between the two key phenomena, the definitions of which manifest their own problematics. Indeed, arguments have even been made that there is no such thing as either religion or technology, that there are only religions and technologies. Yet even to apply the terms in their plural forms implies something in common among the diverse phenomena so named. In each case it is thus reasonable to inquire about the unifying features.

Consider, first, the case of technology, because it is slightly easier. Technology – whose etymology derives from a combination of the Greek techne, art or skill, and logos, speech or reason – has been variously understood to be restricted to or to include technique or technics, machines and structures, the mechanical arts and crafts, applied science, invention, engineering, the pursuit of power or efficiency, any means to an end, and more. One unifying feature thus readily appears to be physical objects made and used by human beings, with an important distinction to be maintained between premodern or handcraft technics and modern engineering or mass-production technology. Nevertheless, the strict demarcation of technology ...

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