The Structure of Thinking in Technology
Epistemology is the study of conditions, structure and validity of human knowledge. In his article, The Structure of Thinking Technology, Skolimowski gives a different picture of technological knowledge. According to Skolimowski, technology and science are two different things. The author claims that science investigates the reality that is given. In contrast, technology creates reality according to design. Skolimowskis criteria of differentiating technology and science are based on the aims. According to the author, science and technology aims are progressive. However, this progress is primarily different in both technology and science. Science aims at enlarging humans knowledge through devising better theories. On the other hand, technology aims at creating new artifacts through devising means of increasing effectiveness. In this case, Skolimowskis criterion of differentiating science and technology is based on means and ends (Skolimowski 31).
In the article, Skolimowskis central point is that technology should not be mistaken with science. According to Skolimowski, the difference between technology and science is best grasped by focusing on the idea of scientific progress and the ways in which it is different from technological progress. The author stresses that in the absence of understanding technological progress, there is no understanding of technology, and there is no sound philosophy of technology. Skolimowski puts emphasis that technological progress has its own autonomy from science. According to Skolimowski, it may appear that technological development happened because of scientific findings and development in physics or chemistry; it is erroneous to oversee the fact that initially the problem was technical and not mental. In an attempt to distinguish various patterns of thinking leading to the increase of effectiveness in different branches of technology, Skolimowski says that there is no single technique or knowledge to technological activities. Therefore, the application of technology demands the integration of various heterogeneous factors. These heterogeneous factors should be multileveled and multichannel. Technological knowledge can have the appearance of a formal discipline, but it is a qualified form of knowledge. Technology makes extensive use of formal, abstract knowledge, mainly from mathematics and sciences. However, this knowledge does not constitute to discipline, because it is primarily a manifestation of the selective use of discipline. Formal knowledge used in the technological sense lacks a coherent, generalizable and independent framework. Since technological activity itself is integrative and provides the intellectual structure (Skolimowski 52).
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The Neolithic period witnessed a vast transformation of human societies. During this period, people experienced a transition from food-gathering to horticulture and intensified agriculture. This period occurred between 12,000 and 8,000 years ago, and the discovery of technology was fundamental in the transition. There were significant scientific and technological developments that occurred during and after this transition. The emergence of western civilization has been a gradual process. It ultimately grounded itself with the earlier precursors of modern humans in the Paleolithic era. The advent of the concept of civilization started rising with the first agricultural revolution. When humans started settling in homes or permanent communities, people were inspired to infuse technology and cultivate specialized skills. New technologies and skills evolved as a result of the need for better arms and tools to go along with the new way of life. Neolithic agriculturalists developed simple diaries and calendars to keep track of farming activities such as harvesting and planting. Farmers developed metallic tools such as plows to help in field cultivation (Cole 19).
The most distinctive use of technology during the Neolithic period was the use of polished or ground stone. It happened in contrast to the flaked tools used during the Paleolithic era. During Neolithic culture, people used stone like their predecessors. Therefore, the tools used during this period were more refined and complex. People were beginning to explore metals, which was a great technological advance to the Homo sapiens. Their transition from hunters and gatherers to intensified agricultural production was made possible by the skilled farmers. During this period, farmers were also able to manufacture a variety of tools. Tools developed during this period were mainly intended to plant, tend, harvest and process crops. Humans were also able to manufacture stone tools and ornaments. During the Neolithic period, another fundamental technological element involving agricultural development was domestication where humans were able to alter the genetic makeup of animals and plants. People also started developing crafts such as weaving, pottery and other methods of artistic communication (Cole 28).
With increased scientific and technological developments, Neolithic revolution civilization began coming up in unsurprising locations such as river valleys. People learned to make and utilize weapons and bronze tools. This allowed people to construct homes and shelters, because they had no reasons to be nomads. After the Neolithic period, farming become more intensified, tools used in agricultural become more complex, bronze tools use become more utilized. It is from the Neolithic period that civilization started, and significant development as a result of science and technology during this period was immense. Important developments were domestication of animals and agriculture intensification. These two developments permitted people to stay in a single place instead of having a nomadic life where they would move from place to place. Humans had secured a source of food because they were able to alter the genetic makeup of plants and animals to bring the best out of them. It is from the Neolithic period that people learned to raise and plant crops and keep livestock for food. People were put in the situation of living together always, and much collaboration among the people was required for existence, and, consequentlym civilizations started to arise (Cole 43).