Is There Techne in My Logos? On the Origins and Evolution of the Ideographic Term—Technology

By Ronald J. Tulley.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Tracing the roots of techne to the modern word technology indicates that somewhere along the line the Greek notion of a craft guided by knowledge of that craft has been lost. In its place, we have the recurring words “practical” and “industrial.” How did we get to this point? How did techne evolve from a multifaceted definition encompassing both the “craft” (the process of creation) and the “knowledge” (the reasoning behind the craft), into the contemporary term “technology?” How did our modern society come to think of technology as a concept referring to the tools of progress divorced from social ramifications and impacts? How did technology come to encompass “classes” as disparate as knowledge, objects, activities, processes and systems? In order to truly understand how technology has evolved into an ideograph of American social discourse in the age of the Internet, it is necessary to return to the Greek origins of the word. In this essay, I explore the disconnect between scholarly concerns regarding the socio-political problems related to technology and the vernacular understanding of the term technology.

Keywords: Philosophy of Technology

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp.93-104. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 614.850KB).

Dr. Ronald J. Tulley

Assistant Professor of English, College of Liberal Arts,, English Department, The University of Findlay, Findlay, Ohio, USA

An Assistant Professor of English at The University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio, Ron Tulley teaches The Rhetoric of Urban Spaces, Writing about Cities, Technical Communication, Visual Rhetoric, E-Rhetoric, E-Poetics, Introduction to Style, Project Management and Advanced Topics in Technical Communication, and Advanced Web-Design: Online Help and Usability Testing as well as traditional composition and literature classes. In addition to teaching at The University of Findlay, he has taught at eight other universities and colleges, including Bowling Green State University and Case Western Reserve University (where he is currently finishing his dissertation). His dissertation research focuses on the autobiography in cyberspace. He is particularly interested in how the autobiography is affected by its rhetorical situation, or in the Greek, Kairos. Additionally, his research examines how weblogged autobiographies have evolved from what was once a limited "conversation" between the author and her audience, a.k.a., what the Greeks referred to as Dialektos or dialectic, and have expanded to include exchanges that may eventually become a part of the “original” autobiography through hyperlinking, downloading, etc. Professor Tulley has earned degrees in English, History, Business, Technical Communication and Education from The University of Illinois, Southern Illinois University, and Bowling Green State University.


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