In the following, I explain Dusek’s theory for defining technology and include the key points and ideas
In the text “What is Technology? Defining or Characterizing Technology” by Val Dusek, he argues that you can learn a lot about looking and investigating different kind of definition for a phenomenon and thereby learn something about philosophy and philosophical views. Technology in general is in rapid change and is constantly developed and there is many individual perceptions and ideas of what technology is and how it should be defined and Dusek argues:
“Even if one doesn’t find a final definition on which everyone can agree, an investigation of the definition of technology shows us the range of things that can count as technology and some of the borderline cases where people differ on whether something should be counted as technology or not. Even an unsuccessful search for a best definition helps us to explore the layout of the area we are investigating. “(Dusek, 2006, 26).
Dusek presents three ways of characterizing or defining technology and they are the following: technology as hardware, technology as rules and technology as systems (Dusek, 2006). The first definition, technology as hardware, is, as he states, the most obvious technologies such as tools and machines and is the typical things one might would think of when technology is mentioned such as computers, vehicles and factories examples. The understanding of these technologies is furthermore “concrete and easy graspable” (Dusek, 2006, 31). The second definition, technology as rules, sees technology as rules rather than tools and how patterns of means-end relationships must be involved (Dusek, 2006). Another way to characterize this definition would be the ‘hardware’, being the tools versus the ‘software’, being the rules and their differences. An example from the text of one who uses this definition is Ellul, who consider the patterns of rule-following behavior as the essence of technology (ibid). The third and last definition from Dusek is technology as systems. With this definition, it is not clear that “hardware outside of human context of use and under- standing really functions as technology” (Dusek, 2006, 32). This means that for a tool, a piece of hardware, to be a technology, it must be set and used in the right relevant context with humans. A technology needs a system of people who use it as predetermined and furthermore repairs and maintains it. Without this human context, it could be argued that is loses its indented value (Dusek, 2006).