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Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(4), 126; doi:10.3390/socsci6040126

A Comprehensive Definition of Technology from an Ethological Perspective

Graduate School of Education, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260, USA
Received: 11 June 2017 / Revised: 25 September 2017 / Accepted: 12 October 2017 / Published: 23 October 2017
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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. View Full-Text
Keywords: definition of technology; science; philosophy; STS; science and the public; theory of technology definition of technology; science; philosophy; STS; science and the public; theory of technology
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Carroll, L.S.L. A Comprehensive Definition of Technology from an Ethological Perspective. Soc. Sci. 2017, 6, 126.

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