“Technology is a branch of moral philosophy, not of science”

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Paul Goodman’s article in the New York Review of Books from 1969 “Can Technology Be Humane?” contains the famous line which has stuck with me for years:

 

 

“Whether or not it draws on new scientific research, technology is a branch of moral philosophy, not of science. It aims at prudent goods for the commonweal and to provide efficient means for these goods. At present, however, “scientific technology” occupies a bastard position in the universities, in funding, and in the public mind. It is half tied to the theoretical sciences and half treated as mere know-how for political and commercial purposes. It has no principles of its own.”

I would not say that I agree with Goodman’s rather harsh assessment., but I think he raises the most essential question of what exactly technology does.

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