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GeneralRe: Best Practice Question - How do you prefer to pass a bunch of options to a function? PinmemberRafagaX19-May-14 9:35 
GeneralRe: Best Practice Question - How do you prefer to pass a bunch of options to a function? PinmemberKamen Nik20-May-14 3:51 
GeneralElectronaggedon PinmemberJohn Simmons / outlaw programmer18-May-14 4:44 
GeneralRe: Electronaggedon PinprofessionalDuncan Edwards Jones18-May-14 5:19 
GeneralRe: Electronaggedon PinmentorPaul Watt18-May-14 6:17 
GeneralRe: Electronaggedon PinprofessionalRage18-May-14 22:25 
GeneralRe: Electronaggedon PinmemberΑlphaΔeltaΘheta18-May-14 6:53 
GeneralRe: Electronaggedon PinmemberJohn Simmons / outlaw programmer18-May-14 7:45 
GeneralRe: Electronaggedon PinprofessionalDuncan Edwards Jones18-May-14 8:11 
GeneralRe: Electronaggedon PinmemberJohn Simmons / outlaw programmer18-May-14 10:36 
GeneralRe: Electronaggedon PinmemberGary Wheeler19-May-14 0:50 
GeneralRe: Electronaggedon PinmemberJohn Simmons / outlaw programmer19-May-14 5:40 
GeneralRe: Electronaggedon PinmemberRoger Wright19-May-14 9:01 
GeneralSunday Sermon PinprotectorMarc Clifton18-May-14 4:28 

The ethics of technology and their application is an oft debated subject.  What is ignored is that, without technology, these debates on ethics and morality would not even occur.  While it has been cited that our social development has been lacking with regards to our technological development, it is technology, in part, that forces us to develop socially as well.  The nature of this tension between an objectifying technology and the subjective issues of ethics and morality is even found in the words we use to describe technologies. 

The word "device" has several meanings:

  1. a thing made for a particular purpose; an invention or contrivance, especially a mechanical or electrical one.
  2. a plan or scheme for effecting a purpose.
  3. a crafty scheme; trick.
  4. a particular word pattern, figure of speech, combination of word sounds, etc., used in a literary work to evoke a desired effect or arouse a desired reaction in the reader: rhetorical devices.
  5. something elaborately or fancifully designed.

Note how a term we often use when speaking of our technological gadgetry can be both "a thing made for a practical purpose" and "a crafty scheme; trick."

The word "machine" has a similar duality -- "a mechanical apparatus or contrivance", deriving from the Latin machina, again includes the concept of a "trick."  The similar word "machination" means "an intrigue, plot, or scheme."

As software engineers, we employ our "craft" in the construction of computer programs, using the definition "an art, trade or occupation requiring special skill", however, the term can also mean "skill in deception and trickery."

Even the word "technology", deriving from the Greek teckhne, "was not concerned with the necessity and eternal a priori truths of the cosmos, nor with the a posteriori contingencies and exigencies of ethics and politics." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Techne) In this interpretation we see that technology lives outside the realm of truth and ethics.  Further "Epistêmê is the Greek word most often translated as knowledge, while technê is translated as either craft or art." (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/episteme-techne/) Here again we have a reference to "craft." 

It is an interesting thing to notice how several of our words, "device", "machine", "craft", and "technology", have a duality to them, indicating both something representing skill and purpose as well as craftiness and trickery.  This duality has its parallels and expression in the complexities in determining the ethics of a technology in all its various applications.

-- Reference: In the Belly of the Beast, Technology, Nature, and the Human Prospect, Steve Talbott, 2004, ISBN: 0-9744906-1-X


GeneralRe: Sunday Sermon PinmemberGary Wheeler19-May-14 0:21 
GeneralRe: Sunday Sermon PinmemberMember 908236519-May-14 0:46 
GeneralRe: Sunday Sermon PinmemberMember 1038982119-May-14 4:04 
GeneralRe: Sunday Sermon PinmemberC Grant Anderson19-May-14 4:57 
GeneralRe: Sunday Sermon Pinmemberstephen.hazel19-May-14 5:59 
GeneralRe: Sunday Sermon PinmemberMikeTheFid20-May-14 8:00 
JokeGlobalization PinmemberVivic17-May-14 20:54 
GeneralRe: Globalization [modified] PinprofessionalSoMad17-May-14 22:23 
GeneralRe: Globalization PinmemberLloyd Atkinson18-May-14 6:34 
GeneralRe: Globalization PinprofessionalSoMad18-May-14 7:57 
GeneralGlad I have lots of hair ... PinsubeditorWalt Fair, Jr.17-May-14 12:10 
GeneralRe: Glad I have lots of hair ... PinmemberGary R. Wheeler17-May-14 12:13 
GeneralRe: Glad I have lots of hair ... PinsubeditorWalt Fair, Jr.17-May-14 12:58 
GeneralRe: Glad I have lots of hair ... PinmemberBillWoodruff17-May-14 15:45 
GeneralRe: Glad I have lots of hair ... PinmemberMike Hankey17-May-14 16:09 
GeneralRe: Glad I have lots of hair ... PinmemberGary R. Wheeler17-May-14 16:03 
GeneralRe: Glad I have lots of hair ... PinprotectorOriginalGriff17-May-14 23:38 
GeneralRe: Glad I have lots of hair ... PinmemberTim Carmichael18-May-14 0:58 
GeneralRe: Glad I have lots of hair ... PinprotectorOriginalGriff18-May-14 1:24 
GeneralRe: Glad I have lots of hair ... PinsubeditorWalt Fair, Jr.18-May-14 5:37 
GeneralRe: Glad I have lots of hair ... PinmemberKyudos18-May-14 14:37 
GeneralRe: Glad I have lots of hair ... PinsubeditorWalt Fair, Jr.19-May-14 4:46 
GeneralIE quirk with Compatibility View settings Pinmemberkmoorevs17-May-14 10:45 
RantYou thought the MSDN is bad? PinprotectorMarco Bertschi17-May-14 5:54 
GeneralRe: You thought the MSDN is bad? Pinmember d@nish 17-May-14 8:58 
GeneralRe: You thought the MSDN is bad? PinprofessionalTom Deketelaere17-May-14 14:51 
GeneralRe: You thought the MSDN is bad? PinprotectorMarco Bertschi18-May-14 0:10 
GeneralRe: You thought the MSDN is bad? PinprotectorDaveAuld18-May-14 2:33 
GeneralRe: You thought the MSDN is bad? PinmemberDan Neely19-May-14 2:40 
GeneralNope. PinmvpCPallini17-May-14 22:16 
GeneralRe: Nope. PinprotectorMarco Bertschi18-May-14 0:09 
GeneralRe: You thought the MSDN is bad? PinprotectorPete O'Hanlon18-May-14 2:55 
GeneralRe: You thought the MSDN is bad? PinprotectorMarco Bertschi18-May-14 3:00 
GeneralRe: You thought the MSDN is bad? PinprotectorPete O'Hanlon18-May-14 3:09 
GeneralRe: You thought the MSDN is bad? PinprotectorMarco Bertschi18-May-14 3:31 
GeneralRe: You thought the MSDN is bad? PinprotectorMarco Bertschi18-May-14 7:46 

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