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A Comprehensive Definition of Technology from an Ethological Perspective

Carroll, La Shun L. (2017) A Comprehensive Definition of Technology from an Ethological Perspective. Social Sciences, 6 (4). p. 126. ISSN 2076-0760

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Abstract

Definitions, uses, and understanding of technology have varied tremendously since Jacob Bigelow’s Elements of Technology in 1829. In addition to providing a frame of reference for understanding technology, the purpose of this study was to define or describe it conceptually. A determination of dimensions comprising technology was made by critiquing historical and contemporary examples of definition by Bigelow and Volti. An analytic-synthetic method was employed to deconstruct both definitions spanning two centuries to derive aspects of technology. Definitions relying on an anthropocentric “how humans use technology” viewpoint failed to account for different perspectives that were found when an ethological perspective inquiring “how technology is used” served as a framework. Findings support qualification of insulin as technology according to the following comprehensive definition: something inherently intelligent enough to either function, be used to function, or be interpreted as having a function that intelligent beings—human or otherwise—can appreciate, something devised, designed (by primary intention), or discovered (by secondary intention) serving particular purposes from a secular standpoint without humankind creating it, or a significant beneficiary of rationally derived knowledge that is “used for” a purpose without itself necessarily being translated into something material that “does” autonomously, or dependently when used.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Carroll, La Shun L.lcarroll@buffalo.edu0000-0003-4132-6392
Keywords: definition of technology; science; philosophy; STS; science and the public; theory of technology
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Technology
Depositing User: Dr. La Shun Carroll
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2017 15:23
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2017 15:23
Item ID: 14078
Journal or Publication Title: Social Sciences
Publisher: MDPI
Official URL: http://doi.org/10.3390/socsci6040126
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci6040126
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Technology
Date: 23 October 2017
Page Range: p. 126
Volume: 6
Number: 4
ISSN: 2076-0760
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14078

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