Moral Dimension of Know-how




The historic derivation of the expression know-how will come from the Greek phrase technikos, indicating “of artwork, skilful, simple” and the portion of the phrase ology implies “awareness of” or a “systematic remedy of.”

Hence the derivation of the expression know-how is basically “awareness of the skilful and simple.”

On the other hand, this definition is way too normal to indicate how 1 may perhaps predict awareness of the useful before it exists.

For this rationale, allow us use a slightly diverse definition of technology.

We will define know-how as the awareness of the manipulation of nature for human purposes.

This definition retains the notions the two of awareness and practicality (human purposes) but adds the new thought of manipulation of nature.

This indicates that all simple or specialized abilities in the end derive type alterations of nature.

Know-how relies upon on a base in the purely natural globe but extends the purely natural globe by means of the phenomenon of manipulation.

Given that we want to manipulate nature, the means to predict what nature will do when manipulated is most useful, certainly vital.


By incredibly definition, know-how manipulates nature for human purposes.

Hence, technology intervenes in the life of human beings, straight or indirectly, trying to alter behaviours.

Know-how, thus, has an moral dimension.

The incredibly raison d’etre of technology is human purpose.

What is the fundamental purpose of human daily life?

Is it to maximize standard of residing?

Or is to increase good quality of daily life?

Or is it to improve gratification in daily life?

All these different factors can be distilled into a one holistic thought: Value OF HUMAN Life.

Value OF HUMAN Life

The value of human daily life may perhaps be defined as the stability or ratio amongst gratification or joy and suffering or suffering.

Value OF HUMAN Life = Contentment / Struggling

In the context of this definition, the greatest purpose of technology is to improve the value of human daily life, with a prolonged-expression viewpoint, by maximization of joy and gratification and a concomitant reduction or minimization of suffering and suffering (actual physical, mental and emotional).

As a generalization, people want a far better daily life. A far better daily life can commonly be transcribed as flexibility from want, accessibility to and possession of at least some of the nonessentials or luxuries, very good well being, a sensible daily life expectancy, the absence of emotional anxiety, fulfilling human relations (ensuing from gratifying perform practical experience), intellectual stimulation, and individually fulfilling leisure activities.


Human wants and values change by means of time as technology innovations.

Male tends to take the fruits of new technology extra commonly (gratification/joy/convenience) whereas he is unwilling to take adjustments in his individual daily life.

Hence social and cultural adjustments always lag guiding technology leading to a mismatch which consequently prospects to unhappiness, dissatisfaction, suffering and suffering (emotional) and consequent lowering of the value of human daily life.

A crude but simple way of classifying human values is to divide wants into individuals that are essentially physiological and individuals that are psychological. Most new systems cater to physiological wants by doing hazardous, filthy, or hard duties (the three D’s) therefore improving the value of human daily life.

As regards psychological wants, an instance pertaining to Data Technology (IT) may perhaps be in order.

IT caters to two unique classes of psychological wants of human beings: Cognitive Requires which refer to the human want for facts so as to be prepared to act or make decisions that may perhaps be needed, and Affective Requires which refer to the emotional necessities of human, this kind of as their want to do challenging perform, to know their perform has value, to really feel individually safe, and to be in command.

Undue emphasis on cognitive wants and the neglect of affective wants may perhaps bring about emotional suffering which counterbalances the gains to cognitive wants which may perhaps be harmful to the value of human daily life as a total.


In our haste to milk technology for quick economic gain we frequently shed sight of the prolonged-expression effects: the better order and oblique results, especially the delayed and unintended results of technology.

The Sorenson several influence network methodology is a useful technique for an examining the effects and effects of technology.

The expression malefit is launched to signify unsafe results and effects of a technology in contrast with advantage as a useful output.

The effects of a technology [Outcomes vs Effects] may perhaps be categorized as:

Outcomes Effects

(i)      To start with Order           :         Added benefits

(ii)     Next Purchase        :         Direct Malefits

(iii)    3rd Order          :         Oblique Malefits

(iv)     Fourth Order        :         Unintended Malefits

(v)      Fifth Order          :         Delayed Malefits

These analyses unquestionably assist in assessing the effects of different effects of a technology on the value of human daily life in the prolonged-expression viewpoint in holistic way.

Early identification of components harmful to the value of human daily life may perhaps verify useful in technology evaluation to lower mismatches.

We will have to not shed sight of our standard premise that the cardinal purpose of technology is to maximize the value of human daily life by maximising joy and minimising suffering.


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009

Vikram Karve has asserted his appropriate underneath the Copyright, Layouts and Patents Act 1988 to be discovered as the creator of this perform.