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TECHNOLOGY AND HUMANITY


"A man without technology,..., is nota man". (José Ortega y Gasset)


The Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset, in his essay "Thoughts on Technology", defines technology in the context of humanity and nature. According to Ortega y Gasset, human real needs are independent of nature and rather are based on an individual's will and desires. These acts of will translate into humanity'smanipulation of nature in an effort to address these needs. When compared to natural needs, such as food and sleep, personal needs are superfluous. The end result is that humanitycreates a new nature, a super-nature, which is separate from “real nature”. The super-nature can be dominant over the real nature leading to numerous ethical issues. From this point ofview, technology is the means whereby humanity separates itself from nature and that it is the mechanism used to adapt the natural environment to the individual. This is the reasonwhy the Spanish philosopher said that “a man without technology is not man”.
According to José Ortega y Gasset "Everything becomes clear...when we realize that there are twopurposes [of technology]: "One, to sustain organic life, mere being in nature, by adapting the individual to the environment; the other, to promote the good life, well-being, by adaptingthe environment to the individual." Thus Ortega y Gasset distinguishes technology which is for survival from technology which is the result of will and desire. Therefore technologymust be recognized as going beyond minimal existence. In doing so, technology becomes integral with using our environment for what we see as good; values generate technology.
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