|Michael wrote: |
I believe that Ayn Rand was at least incomplete, if not just plain wrong, about technology coming from science. Largely, science is built from an understanding of technology. There is a distinct difference between an innovation in "technology COMING FROM science" and all "technology being BASED UPON science."
That is, there are the psychological processes that are involved in the creation of new technology. That is about how our minds work during this creative process. And then there is the epistemological structure of knowledge which is about the hierarchy of knowledge. Very different.
I suspect that the vast amount of technological advances, talking about smaller, incremental changes, comes from someone looking at a piece of current technology and imagining an improvement. That would be technology coming from technology - and I'm talking about the psychological process. Did the inventor in question understand the underlying science? Probably, in most cases, but certainly not always.
But does technology as a field of knowledge rest upon a foundation of Science? Absolutely - always.
Periodically, whole new waves of technological inventions are released from the discovery of a new scientific principle and this kind of technological advance is greater in the size of the leap forward. And could be said to the source of all the products that get tinkered with thereafter till the next scientific discovery in that area.
More important, I think, is that they are inseparable. Science deals with the principles that describe how an aspect of the world works, and technology is an application of some of those laws.
As to the idea that, "largely, science is built from an understanding of technology"... that's questionable and it depends on what Michael meant. I'd like to hear more about what he meant.
We use technology in measurements, in experiments, as tools to pursue scientific understanding... but that is a very limited way in which one would say that science is built from technology because science is a form of knowledge and that would make the tools not much more important to science than the apple was to the theory of gravity - it was there, but that was a minor accident and not the brilliant thought that followed.
I'd say that technology can inspire a thought that leads to a new understanding in science. But what gives inspiration is more a matter of psychology and chance than an epistemological verity.