52 Matching Annotations
  1. Feb 2018
    1. Empirical knowledge did not have to be sought deliberately, but arose naturally from the pursuit of technical trades

      almost philosophical, and another recurring theme from prior readings.

    2. A close relationship thereby developed between the artists and the artisans.

      This illuminates the idea presented earlier in class where technology was an art longer than a science like today.

    3. the rise of western capitalism was largely tied up with the development of mining and metallurgy.” The feudal lords promoted the rise of industrial-commercial towns (pp. 62–69). Manufacturing was at the heart of the urban economy

      Feudal lords saw the benefits of the new technology and required their gentry to use the mills they owned for more profit.

    4. The growing use of metals—silver, gold, copper, lead, tin, and iron and steel—put mining, metallurgy, and metalworking in the center of industrial activity and trade.

      manufacturing more productive due to advances in metal technology and use. Waterwheels providing power for mills is significant.

    5. central governments established authority.

      this is leaders and administration of production and redistribution which leads to new forms of society.

    6. Cultural, economic, and environmental factors all interact with technology to affect the rate of historical change

      A recurring theme.

    7. These innovations caused a rapid increase in population and an agricultural surplus that permitted the growth of towns

      heavy iron plow, horse harness, and triennial crop rotation and fertilization with marl caused this. Again we see how storing more food leads to more advanced society.

    8. The principal regression relative to Greece and Rome was the collapse of an elaborate city-state culture.

      Important to understand why some things regressed, leading to illiteracy.

    9. Like the Romans, the Arabs absorbed the technological knowledge of the peoples they conquered and disseminated this knowledge over their empires, innovating, but not generating a technological revolution of their own

      This important because it shows how technology was learned and spread for a time.

    1. philosophy of technology begins with the Greeks and is in fact the foundation of all Western philosophy

      Important to note.

    2. relation of essence to physis and poiesis

      important. relation 3 of 3. essence and physis vs poiesis. Plato's theory of ideas. the "thing" exists in a realm prior to the thing itself. uses the techne idea for both physis and poiesis.

    3. On the other hand, the distinction between existence and essence is not obvious for natural things

      important. relation 2 of 3. physis (natural) and existence vs. essence. essence AND existence emerge together. the "what it is" (essence) is only human construction, this is episteme.

    4. poiêsis, the distinction between existence and essence is real and obvious.

      important. Relationship 1 of 3

    5. elation between these two distinctions is not obvious, is in fact puzzling. The source of the puzzle is the Greek understanding of technê,

      relationship of the 2 DISTINCTIONS. poiesis related to existence vs essence. physis related to existence vs essence. essence related to physis vs. poiesis. These are the main themes of the next few paragraphs, in the order written. techne again is the field related to the artifact (poiesis).

    6. distinction is that between existence and essence.

      Another important theme. Existence = to be or not to be; essence = what is it? West philosophy existence is hard to define.

    7. techne

      the field related to the Poiesis. i.e. medicine, carpentry. Each techne has a purpose and meaning related to the artifact, which depends on human activity. where physis does not.

    8. distinction between what the Greeks called physis and poiêsis

      This is one of the main themes. Physis = nature; Poiesis = manmade "artifacts"

    1. William Buckland

      Nye, D.E. Technology matters: Questions to live with



              Nye’s Chapter 1 “Can we Define Technology?” has many interesting themes relating to technology. He begins this chapter with a theme of technology and human/animal evolution. Nye points out that for a time, it was thought only humans used tools, even until Benjamin Franklin’s time. Well, it was actually Benjamin Franklin who came up with the idea that tool-making is what makes humans different from animals.  Only more recent studies have shown animals, such as a chimpanzee, using tools… Not sure what the .... is for AND doing so with foresight.
              The article makes a point to describe in detail specific traits of humans which have evolved. It discusses the opposition between thumb and finger, the enlarging of the human cortex, and humans' adaptability. Furthermore, he contrasts animal and human relationships to technology for further illumination: “’animals are atechnical; they are content with the simple act of living.’ Humans, in contrast, continually redefine their necessities to include more.”

      Nye goes on to make the point about tools being inseparable from human evolution. He suggests that this means tools are more than simple objects, rather they express larger sequences of actions and ideas. Nye insinuates the mind plays an important role, and that an imagination of altered circumstances, or how present circumstances may be made different, are necessary for tool creation. These paragraphs can actually go together. They are a bit too short on their own.

              Deeper in the chapter, a new theme emerges about technology and science: the "fundamental misconception." Nye begins this theme by describing a bookstore, and where one may find books related to technology. They would not be found in their own section, rather mixed in many sections throughout.  again, your paragraphs are too short

      Nye states that the commonly held misconception is discoveries emerge from “pure science,” and that technology is simply the solution through scientific principles. Throughout history, technology has come first, and then the science to explain how it works followed. Even more oddly, technology can arise before there was ever a need for it! What does this mean?

      Nye also points out people’s general misconception of what to call technology. Cyril Stanley Smith believes it should be called an art. Most people believe it is an applied science, supposedly word choice falsely. Smith makes the point that while technology in modern times is more of an applied science, it was an art form throughout much of history, longer than it has been an applied science.

              Nye’s last theme in the end of the chapter is technology and culture: “technological determinism.” As previously mentioned, Nye made a point about technology being inseparable from human evolution. Technology was a major factor in societal evolution. “Learning to use tools was a crucial step… because it led to a more complex social life.”

      The article points out that tools predate written language. Nye suggests that telling stories and using tools are similar, and both contribute to social development. Humans are determined to have more and do more, and tools are the method. This is an example of “technological determinism,” defined as a reductionist theory that assumes that a society's technology determines the development of its social structure and cultural values.

      Nye’s use of imagery to define “technological determinism” is quite good. The article describes a scene from Kubrick’s 2001 where an ancestor of modern man picks up a bone, uses it as a weapon, then throws it into the air where it turns into a space station. Kubrick is implying that technology is determined; there has been a continuous development from pre-stone age to present times. Nye closes by posing a question: “Should we accept such determinism?”


      Looking at Nye’s theme on technology and evolution, I understood all of it, and was not challenged in my comprehension. For the most part, it resonated with everything I have known and believed, short of learning some new facts and ideas. I did not know it was believed only humans used tools, and the idea of tools expressing a sequence of actions was something I did not ponder before. This theme has affected my relationship to technology in the sense that I realize the profound impact it had on our own evolution. If tools were never used, or hardly used, we may still resemble our prehistoric ancestors. I also saw how “known” truths or facts can evolve or change over time, just as humans and technology.

      The next theme was slightly more challenging. I suppose that is normal given the theme is technology and science: the “fundamental misconception.” I have always thought of technology as an applied science, so it was a new idea for me to think of technology as an art. I also never thought about the labels of technology, or how researching it may be problematic since it is mixed into many sections of a library and has been called many names. As you pointed out, I failed to relate the bookstore layout to show that we don’t treat technology in its own right. That was my understanding, but I did not accurately portray this. This theme certainly raised my awareness and relationship to technology by making me realize that it will be challenging to research it, and how it is vastly different now than it has been over the course of history. It also made me think that perhaps the order in which technology arises, i.e. technology, need, scientific explanation, is not important. It seems to go in any order throughout history. More recent times would certainly suggest the order proceeds in the opposite direction than is written above. Very good thinking here.

      The last theme discussed, technology and culture: “ technological determinism” was very interesting to learn about. I wouldn’t say it was challenging, as much as it was a learning of new ideas and insights about technology. I definitely accept what I learned, and it resonates with my general previously held knowledge. I had a profound philosophical thought, relating to tools predating written language. Tools were needed to write language, so it could be said that tools are the cultivating factor of human culture and society. Without tools, there is no written communication to be shared, bringing the world’s knowledge together. though, if you consider writing as a tool in itself, then it's just a matter of one tool being used to create another Man will never stop needing, wanting, inventing, creating, all at an astronomical rate that accelerates over time. It is an exciting time to be alive surrounded by so much technology, but at the same time, at which point do the risks outweigh the benefits? This is similar to Nye’s closing question, and a moral dilemma for many who think about “technological determinism.” This has impacted my relationship personally to technology, in that I can imagine technology as its own being, “determined” to grow of its own accord in a sense.

    1. The value system that favored the development of merchant wealth in the feudal towns of Europe found no parallel in China.

      comparing nations is a good reference.

    2. The mechanical arts, increasingly being left to slave labor, could not be respected by the ruling elite

      "mechanical arts" instead of technology used here

    3. The wedge-shaped impressions developed into the system of writing known as cuneiform (Latin cuneus,a wedge)

      writing born from the tools.

    4. After the emergence of city-states in the fourth millennium B.C. , accounting acquired a new importance.

      Important historical significance!!!

    5. the plow, the horse, and wheeled vehicles were introduced


    6. Therefore, Fried's model of social evolution must be viewed as a tendencyrather than a specific sequence of stages through which every coherent community of people must pass

      This seems important to note!

    7. Fried suggests that the domestication of animals and plants initiated a series of changes in social organization from the egalitarian societies of hunters and foragers to the formation of what he calls rank societies, then into stratified societies, and finally to the formation of the state

      What a drastic change Fired points out! From rank to stratified to state! Due to domesticating animals and plants.

    8. The increased productivity that resulted from this transition led both to population increase and social differentiation.

      Important information here. also note social impact.

    9. a transition from simple foragingto complex foraging.

      This is the revolution in part 2...

    10. The first major revolution in social organization associated with technological developments appears to have occurred toward the end of the Ice Age in the period 12,000 to 10,000 B.C. in the Near East.

      Part 2 of the historical timeline marked here.

    11. the society is essentially free of social conflicts, the disputes and tensions that do arise do so as conflicts among individuals and are frowned upon by the other members of the society. It is for this reason that many social philosophers reject the sociobiological views asserting that humans are genetically conditioned to be aggressive and acquisitive.

      I always wondered who came up with this and how. I suppose if everyone were living this way in the world it may be an appropriate assumption, but the world we live in is quite different. A very hopeful and rather empty/naive philosophic view to come up with in my opinion.

    12. To overcome the lack of information about the technological culture of ancient hunting and foraging societies, it is necessary to consider recent and contemporary hunting and foraging cultures, such as the Mbuti people in the Ituri rain forest in Zaire. These people lived until the 1980s much as they had thousands of years ago, with a cultural form that is essentially pre-stone age

      I never knew this! But how amazing to have such recent peoples living in such a manner to show us how we may have lived all those years ago. No other collectible data like that.

    13. stripped branches for prodding termite nests or stone anvils for cracking open hard fruits (Candland, 1987; Goodall, 1968) are not likely to leave a fossil trail, so that it is not unreasonable to assume (even without evidence) that the early bipedal hominids not only did not lag behind thepongids in toolmaking, but also had begun to advance in their use of tools.

      Very interesting to note in tracing the historical origins of tools... It is actually likely we have been using tools even longer than we know!

    14. Bipedality frees the hands for many activities, including using tools

      further explanation of bipedality.

    15. The most generally held view is that technological change is the cause of profound societal change at certain points in human history, while at other times societal change stimulates technological development.

      This seems to be the most common sense and middle of the road approach. It is good to know all three, but even better to pick one to view the reading with as a lens.

    16. interconnections between technology and society begin with the evolution of the human species

      Let's start at the beginning. Historical reference.

    17. The aim here is not to unfold a chronology of technology, but to examine the intricacies of the interrelationships between technology on the one hand, and the complex of science, culture, and socioeconomic organization on the other.

      This basically explains what to expect and look for the rest of the reading.

    18. P. After reading just the first paragraph, I predict that this reading will make a point to show how culture and technology interacted during this time period.

  2. Jan 2018
    1. "technological determinism." A single scene in Stanley Kubrick's film 2001 captures the essence of this idea. A primitive ancestor of modem man picks up a bone, uses it as a weapon, then throws it into the air, where it spins, rises, and metamorphoses into a space station. The implications of this scene were obvious: a direct line of inevitable technological development led from the first tools to the conquest of the stars

      I suppose this is the big picture view of humanity and technology, inseparable from each other, rapidly evolving, at some points not even understanding our own technology, or the impacts they may have, nonetheless, it continues.

    2. n subsequent decades the term"technics" died out in English usage and its capacious meanings were poured into "technology."

      following the rabbit...

    3. philosophy, economics, and high culture. "Technik" meant the totality of tools, machines, systems and processes used in the practical arts and engineering."

      Another useful, and more modern definition.

    4. This broader definition owed much to German, which had two terms: "teknologie" and the broader "technik."

      I always wondered why Germans and Technology kind of went hand in hand...

    5. The word was seldom used in the United States before 1829

      This makes me think that research of "technology" would prove difficult pre-1800's... and more proof why defining it is still finalizing.

    6. Often the use of tools and machines has preceded a scientific explanation for how they work or why they fail.

      Important to note, because this may hint as to why there was no coined term for things that were created with no explanation behind them at the time.

    7. technology's connection to science is generally misunderstood: "Nearly everyone believes, falsely, that technology is applied science

      Showing the difficulties in defining technology. People generally misunderstand how to use it in science.

    8. Stonehenge suggests the truth of Walter Benjamin's observation that "technology is not the mastery of nature but of the relations between nature and man."

      a valuable interpretation of the definition of technology.

    9. But "reading" the axe yields a different kind of knowledge than using it.

      I understand this as I am a hands-on learner as opposed to an auditory learner.

    10. Defining technology as inseparable from human evolution suggests that tools and machines are far more than objects whose meaning is revealed simply by their purposes.

      This statement is leading to the bigger picture of this reading, i.e. technology is sometimes created before it is needed even understood.

    11. Tools are older than written language

      How then could it have been defined at its birth?

    12. That is why animals are atechnical; they are content with the simple act of living."' Humans, in contrast, continually redefine their necessities to include more.

      It is helpful, when trying to define something, to see contrast/comparison.

    13. One way to define "technology" is in terms of evolution.

      The meaning and use of the term "technology" has evolved over the millenia. An excellent opening statement!

    14. P: Based on the guiding question and the reading overview, my prediction is that this will show there are many ways to define technology.