Moral Dimension of Technological know-how




The historical derivation of the time period know-how comes from the Greek phrase technikos, this means “of artwork, skilful, practical” and the part of the phrase ology indicates “know-how of” or a “systematic cure of.”

So the derivation of the time period know-how is basically “know-how of the skilful and practical.”

Nonetheless, this definition is as well normal to imply how a single may perhaps predict know-how of the valuable ahead of it exists.

For this explanation, enable us use a somewhat various definition of technology.

We will outline know-how as the know-how of the manipulation of nature for human applications.

This definition retains the notions the two of know-how and practicality (human applications) but adds the new strategy of manipulation of nature.

This indicates that all practical or specialized expertise eventually derive form alterations of nature.

Technological know-how depends on a foundation in the all-natural environment but extends the all-natural environment through the phenomenon of manipulation.

Because we want to manipulate nature, the capability to predict what nature will do when manipulated is most valuable, indeed critical.


By really definition, know-how manipulates nature for human applications.

So, technology intervenes in the lives of human beings, straight or indirectly, seeking to alter behaviours.

Technological know-how, for that reason, has an ethical dimension.

The really raison d’etre of technology is human function.

What is the fundamental function of human daily life?

Is it to increase common of dwelling?

Or is to strengthen top quality of daily life?

Or is it to enhance fulfillment in daily life?

All these numerous facets can be distilled into a one holistic strategy: Value OF HUMAN Daily life.

Value OF HUMAN Daily life

The value of human daily life may perhaps be described as the equilibrium or ratio involving fulfillment or joy and ache or suffering.

Value OF HUMAN Daily life = Contentment / Suffering

In the context of this definition, the supreme function of technology is to enhance the value of human daily life, with a very long-time period point of view, by maximization of joy and fulfillment and a concomitant reduction or minimization of ache and suffering (physical, psychological and psychological).

As a generalization, persons want a much better daily life. A much better daily life can typically be transcribed as flexibility from want, obtain to and possession of at least some of the nonessentials or luxuries, good wellness, a reasonable daily life expectancy, the absence of psychological pressure, satisfying human relations (resulting from gratifying work practical experience), intellectual stimulation, and individually fulfilling leisure routines.


Human requirements and values alter through time as technology developments.

Person tends to settle for the fruits of new technology far more quickly (fulfillment/joy/comfort and ease) whereas he is hesitant to settle for adjustments in his personal daily life.

So social and cultural adjustments generally lag at the rear of technology producing a mismatch which as a result potential customers to unhappiness, dissatisfaction, ache and suffering (psychological) and consequent reducing of the value of human daily life.

A crude but practical way of classifying human values is to divide requirements into individuals that are in essence physiological and individuals that are psychological. Most new technologies cater to physiological requirements by performing perilous, soiled, or difficult jobs (the three D’s) therefore boosting the value of human daily life.

As regards psychological requirements, an case in point pertaining to Details Technology (IT) may perhaps be in purchase.

IT caters to two unique types of psychological requirements of human beings: Cognitive Needs which refer to the human will need for details so as to be all set to act or make conclusions that may perhaps be required, and Affective Needs which refer to the psychological requirements of human, this sort of as their will need to do difficult work, to know their work has value, to sense individually protected, and to be in handle.

Undue emphasis on cognitive requirements and the neglect of affective requirements may perhaps bring about psychological ache which counterbalances the gains to cognitive requirements which may perhaps be harmful to the value of human daily life as a entire.

CONSEQUENCE OF Technological know-how

In our haste to milk technology for speedy economic gain we generally get rid of sight of the very long-time period penalties: the greater purchase and oblique effects, primarily the delayed and unintended effects of technology.

The Sorenson a number of result network methodology is a valuable system for an analyzing the effect and penalties of technology.

The time period malefit is launched to signify destructive effects and penalties of a technology in distinction with reward as a valuable output.

The penalties of a technology [Effects vs Effects] may perhaps be classified as:

Effects Effects

(i)      1st Order           :         Benefits

(ii)     2nd Buy        :         Direct Malefits

(iii)    Third Order          :         Oblique Malefits

(iv)     Fourth Order        :         Unintended Malefits

(v)      Fifth Order          :         Delayed Malefits

This kind of analyses absolutely enable in examining the effect of numerous penalties of a technology on the value of human daily life in the very long-time period point of view in holistic way.

Early identification of things harmful to the value of human daily life may perhaps establish valuable in technology evaluation to minimize mismatches.

We should not get rid of sight of our essential premise that the cardinal purpose of technology is to increase the value of human daily life by maximising joy and minimising suffering.


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009

Vikram Karve has asserted his right below the Copyright, Patterns and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the creator of this work.

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