Nordin (Linköping Univ., Sweden) presents a unique approach to the philosophy of technology and philosophy of science. He distinguishes technology from science by defining technology as the functional methods for solving practical problems. Since both science and technology necessarily deal with uncertainty, the author discusses how to define a technological development as successful, considers the role of scientific knowledge in technological progress, and identifies other kinds of knowledge involved in rational decision-making. He argues that rational technological decision-making requires consideration not just of a technology's utility but also of a vast pool of knowledge from its users, with their practical understanding of their own individual needs and priorities. The importance of user input in decision-making leads to a major criticism of standard theories of technology: these theories ignore the fact that users tend to formulate their problems in terms of existing technologies. Nordin posits that competition among technologies is the best way to foster efficient progress. Testing his theories in the field of medicine and science, the author recommends pluralism of ideas as the best institutional condition for technological progress.
Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals.