Quote of the moment - By all means email any worthy quotes

    What does a fish know of water in which it swims all its life? What does a man know of nature of which he is an integral part? The ancient answer is: he knows and he knows not. (cited in Saraswati, 1995 (Ed) Man in Nature)

    The more I have learned in life, and I have learned a lot, the less confident I am in what I know. From this, I conclude that adamancy is a sign of ignorance. M. Ferguson 2010- Polymathica

Friday, 2 July 2010

On the 'science and technology' problem and the malady of modern consciousness

Often in literature and education curriculum, in addition to the typical pop-culture and general [even some academic] conversation, the word "technology" can be synonymous with "Science"; as if they are one and the same human endeavour.

Those who study Technology [with a captial 'T'] can find this to be a sometimes odd pre-conception in others.  Its arguably part of greater "malady of modern consciousness" when attempting to understand the technological nature of things.

The following slide is taken from a conference presentation (see citation inset) and offers a comparison between science and technology that goes beyond a simplistic separation of "the study of natural" versus "the study of human-made" world  [if its not natural then what is it...?]

It is perhaps important to note that technological ways of knowing were in existence tens of thousands... of years before science and the scientific method was formalised -  ancient cultures managed to live quite adequately without the western conceptions of knowing.   In this way, rather than science preceding technology, technology pre-dates science.

It would be far from prudent to advocate an 'either-or' argument [science indeed helps in the development of knowledge to (ill)inform technological action]  but it does offer a schema for greater clarity in communication and understanding, furthermore, an aid in making the purpose of an activity clear.  e.g. Are we seeking to understand, or seeking to make something 'work' in its context.

moreover, this distinction can contribute in clarifying the kinds of capabilities required when thinking and acting technologically and/or thinking and acting scientifically.  

Technological thinking is a core capacity for active adaptation, as fundamental as, mathematical and scientific ways of thinking [or any other for that matter].  A way of thinking that, once choices are made (consciously or unconsciously), have immediate consequence and often, long term feedback (both positive and negative).