Beaver Dams, Spider Webs, and the Sticky Wicket: An Investigation On What Counts as Technology and What Counts as Knowledge
MetadataShow full item record
Philosophers of technology have often considered only the tools and processes used and conducted by humans, but natural structures and man-made structures are not always easily discernable from one another. The complexity of a spider web is not matched by many human-made technologies. Beaver dams, beehives, and ant hills are great creations made by non-human animals. Davis Baird has argued that our scientific instruments bear knowledge in important ways, and the idea of technological knowledge bears interestingly on discussions of natural artifacts. Baird thinks his argument for instruments bearing knowledge can be extended, but how far can it be taken? Do â naturalâ technologies, like spider webs, bear technological knowledge of some sort? This move to consider whether natural artifacts might bear knowledge rubs interestingly against current definitions of technology which include human agency or progression as important. If we find that some natural artifacts seem to bear knowledge in the way Baird describes, technological knowledge would not be the exclusive domain of humans. Our current definitions of technology seem incongruent with our view of knowledge and our knowledge of natural artifacts. The purpose of this paper is to sort out the inconsistencies between current philosophical literature on knowledge and on technology. In sorting out the inconsistencies we find, I recommend a spectrum approach with regard to technology based on the epistemological status of the artifact. Using observations from anthropology and biology, I suggest a scale with regard to technological behavior, tool use, and technology.
- Masters Theses 
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Johnson, Scott D.; Gatz, Elizabeth Faye; Hicks, Don (Council on Technology Teacher Education and the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association; Virginia Tech. Digital Library and Archives, 1997)
Program Equity and the Status of Technological Education: The Apologetic Nature of Technology Teachers Hansen, Ronald E. (Council on Technology Teacher Education and the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association; Virginia Tech. Digital Library and Archives, 1996)
Technology Options for Sustainable Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa Scientific papers presented at the OAU/STRC - SAFGRAD Regional Workshop on Technology Options and Transfer Systems for Sustainable Agricultural Production in Sub-Saharan Africa, Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, 26-29 April 1995 Bezuneh, T. (ed.); Emechebe, A. M. (ed.); Sedgo, J. (ed.); Ouedraogo, M. (ed.) (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso: The Coordination Office: OAU/CSTR-SAFGRAD, 1997)The paper proposes a theory of technology development for semi-arid regions. It then evaluates the theory by reviewing the characteristics of technologies successfully introduced into the regions. Modeling is then used to ...