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Technology: History and Philosophy

1 January 2005


It is sometimes remarked that while the preoccupation with the history of technology is a mature and well-established discipline, the preoccupation with the philosophy of technology is at best recent, and at worst considered as marginal in academic terms. In contrast, its relative, the philosophy of science is eminently respectable and unquestioningly accepted by the philosophical community.

This paper, first, briefly sets out the historical relationship between science and technology in the West. Against such a context, it then looks at the epistemological values and goals embedded respectively in the philosophy of science and the philosophy of technology, to consider their overlap as well as their differences. It uses the study of genetics, its two revolutions in the twentieth century – classical Mendelian genetics and DNA molecular genetics – as an example to demonstrate these points of similarities and differences, thereby also establishing that the philosophy of technology is indeed a serious preoccupation.


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