Technology is the creation of artifacts to accomplish certain goals. The byproducts of these efforts include waste products.
In addition, technological artifacts may be considered morally responsible for their actions. Some authors argue that technologies embody specific forms of power.
Generally, philosophers of technology focus on the impact of technology on culture and society. Others have focused on technological development as a goal-oriented process.
As an economic force, technology is hugely important. Many engineers are intrinsically motivated to improve and change the world. Various political approaches to technology date back to Karl Marx.
For example, some philosophers argue that technology is an expression of the teleological nature of the universe. A number of other philosophers have suggested that technological developments should be democratized.
Throughout the twentieth century, philosophical reflection on technology largely centered on the relationship between action and rationality. Most philosophers believe that technological development is goal-oriented, but they have differing views on the value of technology.
An argument to prescribe a course of action is called a normative argument. These are sometimes distinguished from descriptive arguments, which are simply the explanations of the nature of things.
Philosophers of technology have often argued that technology is a “black box” whose functions and purpose are not clear. This has led some to argue that technologies are value-neutral.
Other authors have argued that technological artifacts are not only created for purposes that are not desirable, but that they are designed to serve certain purposes.