National Military Establishments and the Advancement of Science and Technology
To some philosophers, seeking to understand the human condition, technology is a necessary guide. But to think through the complex human phenomenon of technology we must tackle philosophy of science, philosophy of culture, moral issues, comparative civilizational studies, and the economics of specific industrial and military technologies in their historical contexts. The philoso pher wants to grasp the technological factor in this troubled world, even as we see it is only one factor, and that it does not speak openly for itself. Put directly, our human troubles to a considerable extent have been transformed, exaggerated, distorted, even degraded, perhaps transcended, by what engi neers and scientists, entrepreneurs and politicians, have wrought. But our problems are ancient, problems of dominations, struggles, survival, values in conflict, greed and insane sadisms. To get some conceptual light on the social reality which seems immediately to be so complicated, a philosopher will need to learn from the historians of technology. A few years ago, the philosopher Elisabeth Straker concluded that "a his torical philosophy of technology [is required] since history - and history alone - provides all those concepts that form part of the repertoire of the philosoph ical analysis of technology". And she added that this goes far beyond the triviality that like other cultural achievements technology has its historical development. Now historical comprehension is no substitute for a logical methodology in the analysis of technological problems.