Journal of Technology Education

Journal of Technology Education

Current Editor: Chris Merrill,
Previous Editors: Mark Sanders 1989-1997; James LaPorte: 1997-2010

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Volume 3, Number 1
Fall 1991

               Another Look at Technology and Science
                                        Rodney E. Frey
                              "Science and technology" is a phrase
                         that rolls off the tongue with easy familiar-
                         ity.  This linkage is so commonplace that
                         science and technology are often assumed to
                         share a common methodology, common symbol
                         systems (language and mathematics), and a
                         common community of practitioners.  Despite
                         these perceived commonalities, science is
                         generally assumed to precede technology.
                              This misconception about the nature of
                         science and technology and about the re-
                         lationship between them can be misleading at
                         best and fatal at worst for technology educa-
                         tion.  As educators advocate, promote, and
                         implement technology education in the public
                         schools, they may find that the new curric-
                         ulum is equated with science or competes with
                         science programs.  In either case the dis-
                         tinctive character of technology is misunder-
                         stood.  Over two decades ago DeVore (1968,
                         1970) argued the same point and urged indus-
                         trial arts teachers to study technology.
                         Now, even more, teachers of technology educa-
                         tion need a clear understanding of similari-
                         ties and differences between science and
                              In ordinary conversation, the term sci-
                         ence seems to be used in three distinct ways:
                         "(1) science as a human and social enter-
                         prise, (2) science as the body of well-
                         established laws and theories, and (3)
                         science in its applications" (Borgmann, 1984,
                         p.  17).  The first view encompasses the com-
                         munity of science practitioners and the ac-
                         tivity or particular approach used by the
                         community.  The second view is concerned with
                         the cognitive content and structure of sci-
                         ence.  The third view often equates applied
                         science with technology.
                              Technology can be viewed as a corollary
                         to science in all three senses if some lati-
                         tude in fit is allowed.  First, technology is
                         a problem-solving activity practiced by a
                         community of professionals.  Second, there is
                         a well-defined body of technological know-
                         ledge.  And, finally, the world is replete
                         with technological devices, procedures, and
                              There is a fourth sense in which the
                         terms technology and science are used.  Both
                         can be regarded in the abstract as mental
                         categories or constructs which incorporate
                         the other three senses.  Taken to the ex-
                         treme, technology and science are then seen
                         as disembodied forces which exist independent
                         of the natural, material, or social world.
                         Discussions about technology and science of-
                         ten fail to distinguish clearly how the terms
                         are being used.  In this paper, attention
                         will focus on the first three uses of the
                         terms:  practitioners, knowledge, artifacts.
                              The fundamental position taken in this
                         paper is that technology is a human activity
                         involved with the making and using of mate-
                         rial artifacts.  As a human activity, tech-
                         nology is situated on the same level as art,
                         politics, science, economics, and the like,
                         and not subsumed under any other category.
                              The purpose of this paper is to draw at-
                         tention to subtle distinctions between tech-
                         nology and science.  Specifically, three
                         topics will be addressed:  distinctive ap-
                         proaches to the natural world, distinctive
                         aims and purposes, and distinctive knowledge
                         structures and content.  (See Borgmann, 1984,
                         chs. 5, 6, and 12 for distinctions between
                         technology and science based on
                                APPROACHES TO THE NATURAL WORLD
                              Both technology and natural science as-
                         sume the existence of an objective, physical
                         reality which is independent of one's percep-
                         tion of it.  Bunge (1979) lists these assump-
                         tions as "(1) the world is composed of
                         things; (2) things get together in systems;
                         (3) all things, all facts, all processes,
                         whether in nature or in society, fit into ob-
                         jective stable patterns (laws); [and that]
                         (4) nothing comes out of nothing and nothing
                         goes over into nothingness" (pg. 270).
                         Technologists and scientists often act and
                         talk as though this external world can be
                         "known" and that the laws and principles de-
                         scribed by symbols and equations do, in fact,
                         correspond with objective physical reality.
                         This view of nature is a variety of realism
                         and although not all natural scientists hold
                         this view, it likely predominates (Wartofsky,
                         1968; Casti, 1989).
                              In spite of agreement on fundamental
                         presuppositions about the existence of the
                         natural world, technologists and scientists
                         act differently upon these assumptions.  For
                         the natural scientist, nature is the object
                         of research.  Scientists are interested in
                         discovering all they can about natural phe-
                         nomena, whether directly available to human
                         experience or through active intervention
                         (atom splitting) in natural processes.
                         Through systematic investigation and exper-
                         imentation the natural world can be discov-
                         ered and universal laws stated which explain
                         how the natural world functions.  The natural
                         world is a "thing in itself," worthy of
                         study, research, and experimentation to un-
                         cover fundamental laws, patterns, and struc-
                         tures.  Because the scientist is interested
                         in nature for what it is, all nature is open
                         for investigation and all nature is equally
                         valued from the smallest particle of matter
                         to the vast universe (Bunge, 1979; Rapp,
                              An example from Newtonian physics may be
                         helpful.  To the physicist friction is a
                         force which is always opposed to the direc-
                         tion of motion.  Kinetic frictional force,
                         empirically determined for any two types of
                         surfaces which are dry and not lubricated, is
                         equivalent to the coefficient of friction
                         times the normal force acting on the body in
                         motion.  The coefficient of friction is a
                         constant characteristic for the materials in-
                         volved and determined experimentally.  As an
                         empirical law the mathematical equation ade-
                         quately describes the relationship between
                         frictional force and normal force.  Although
                         this law does not rest on any deeper theore-
                         tical understanding of the mechanisms which
                         cause friction, it is satisfying because it
                         describes a portion of the physical world.
                              The technologist, on the other hand, ap-
                         proaches nature in a fundamentally different
                         way.  Nature as a "thing for us" is not neu-
                         tral because value is attached to it depend-
                         ing on the circumstances of use.  This is
                         true for physical laws and natural resources.
                         In engine design frictional force is consid-
                         ered undesirable and efforts are made to re-
                         duce its effects.  On the other hand braking
                         systems are designed to utilize the effects
                         of friction.  In both cases the physical phe-
                         nomenon, friction, is valued differently be-
                         cause of the circumstance.
                              "Because of his pragmatic attitudes,"
                         Bunge (1979) suggests, "the technologist will
                         tend to disregard any sector of nature that
                         is not or does not promise to become a re-
                         source" (p. 268).  Thus, all nature is not
                         equally valued.  In fact, it is quite common
                         for the technologist to ignore or overlook
                         any material or phenomena not immediately
                         useful.  At a later date, because of changing
                         societal values, political, economic, or so-
                         cial conditions, the ignored or discarded re-
                         source may become highly prized.  Before the
                         development of atomic energy, uranium ore was
                         a nuisance.  After technological break-
                         throughs in nuclear reactor design and con-
                         struction made nuclear energy an economically
                         feasible reality, uranium ore became valu-
                         able.  The same can be said about solar en-
                         ergy.  As political alliances in the Middle
                         East shift, threatening oil supplies, inter-
                         est in and commitment to the technologies of
                         solar and wind energy also shift.
                              If scientists were limited to an objec-
                         tive reality accessible directly through the
                         five senses, little scientific progress would
                         be possible.  At some point, scientists pene-
                         trate the surface reality to directly inter-
                         vene in natural processes and natural
                         structure.  For instance, particle acceler-
                         ators and supercolliders are built to break
                         apart matter to investigate the fundamental
                         building blocks of nature.
                              Technologists, too, directly intervene
                         and alter nature.  The intervention is not at
                         the level of fundamental physical phenomena
                         through controlled, systematic experimenta-
                         tion, driven by mathematical theory.  More
                         likely, nature will be altered at the
                         macroscopic level.  For instance, metals are
                         refined from ores to produce pure elements
                         not occurring naturally.  These metallic ele-
                         ments are then combined in controlled quanti-
                         ties to yield other metals (alloys) with new
                         properties.  In this sense the physical world
                         (space, raw materials, fossil energy) is al-
                         tered and transformed with the intent of ap-
                         propriating nature for human purposes (Rapp,
                         1981, pp. 152-153).  In short, "whereas sci-
                         ence elicits changes in order to know, tech-
                         nology knows in order to elicit changes"
                         (Bunge, 1979, p. 264).
                                AIMS OF TECHNOLOGY AND SCIENCE
                              Early in his book Borgmann (1984) intro-
                         duces an engaging phrase: "taking up with the
                         world" (p. 3).  People take up with the so-
                         cially constructed world through politics,
                         economics, and social institutions.  They
                         also take up with the natural and material
                         world through technology and science.  In
                         both cases the human activity is open, dy-
                         namic, patterned, and purposeful.
                              There is not a clear consensus about the
                         ultimate aim or purpose of natural science.
                         The situation becomes muddled when the notion
                         of motivation of the scientist gets mixed in
                         with aims and purposes of science as an ac-
                         tivity.  A commonly formulated statement of
                         motivation suggests that scientists pursue
                         scientific activity out of intellectual curi-
                         osity and inquisitiveness about the natural
                         world.  The more pristine formulation can be
                         found in Campbell (1953) where he insists on
                         science as a form of pure intellectual study
                         which aims "to satisfy the needs of the mind
                         and not those of the body [and] appeals to
                         nothing but the disinterested curiosity of
                         mankind" (p. 1).  This view of science, and
                         scientists, is unsullied by concerns of the
                         daily world or by base motives such as recog-
                         nition, power, money, and prestige.  Thought-
                         ful and reflective scientists would reject
                         Campbell's view of motivation, especially
                         when they consider the social/cultural con-
                         text within which science is practiced.  They
                         might, however, retain curiosity as a
                         stimulant to scientific activity.
                              Even though the motivation of the scien-
                         tist is understood, the ultimate end, pur-
                         pose, or aim of science remains obscure.
                         What is the result of scientific activity?
                         If the answer to this question is approached
                         by recalling the discussion above of the sci-
                         entists' view of nature, the subsequent dis-
                         cussion will carry more meaning.
                              The more common contemporary answer
                         about the aim of science involves a complex
                         interweaving of relationships involving laws,
                         theory, explanation, and understanding.  Sup-
                         pose it is noted that certain phenomena are
                         related in such a way as to form a stable,
                         regular pattern.  This pattern is called
                         physical law.  For example, as a piston moves
                         within a closed-end cylinder, a relationship
                         between volume and pressure is observed.
                         This observation can be communicated by stat-
                         ing that as the volume decreases the pressure
                         increases and as volume increases pressure
                         decreases.  A more concise formulation states
                         that pressure (P) is inversely proportional
                         to volume (V).  In the interest of simplic-
                         ity, this can be reduced to the mathematical
                         equation PV=k where k is a constant.  This
                         pressure-volume relationship, known as
                         Boyle's Law, is an example of an empirical
                         law because it is a descriptive summary of
                         empirical observations (Casti, 1989, pp.
                         22-23).  Empirical laws describe the regular-
                         ities of natural phenomena, and may predict
                         an outcome given appropriate conditions, but
                         they do not explain why something happens.
                         For this theory is needed which explains the
                         uniformities expressed as empirical law
                         (Hemple, 1966, p. 70).
                              In the example above, the empirical law
                         of gases (Boyle's Law) does not provide ex-
                         planation of the physical phenomena in the
                         scientific sense.  For explanation deeper
                         theory based on Newtonian mechanics is
                         needed, specifically f = ma, which does not
                         use concepts of pressure and volume.  In-
                         stead, particle motion, mass, and velocity
                         can be used to derive the formal mathematical
                              Scientists and philosophers of science
                         have articulated various aims for science.
                         Some emphasize explanation and understanding
                         which is consistent with the view of science
                         as a body of knowledge; of well-established
                         laws and theories.  For instance, Feibleman
                         (1972) argues that "pure science has as its
                         aim the understanding of nature; it seeks ex-
                         planation" (p. 33).  In a sense, this could
                         be characterized as a REALISTIC view because
                         it assumes a correspondence with an objective
                         reality "out there" (Casti, 1989, p. 24).
                              A different perspective holds that sci-
                         ence aims at producing theories which have
                         the ability to predict data accurately.  The-
                         ories are not judged to be true or false, nor
                         are they claimed to be an explanation of re-
                         ality "out there."  Instead, theories are in-
                         struments or heuristic devices for looking at
                         phenomena, for testing the congruence between
                         data and hypothesis, and are open to change
                         as new data are available through experiment
                         and observation (Suppe, 1974, pp, 29-30,
                         127-135; Casti, 1989, p. 25; Borgmann, 1984,
                         pp. 18-19).
                              A third perspective of science emerges
                         as an extension of the view of science as an
                         organized, systematic body of knowledge.  In
                         this view the aim, or issue, of science is
                         Truth because the knowledge we have about the
                         natural world describes a reality presumed to
                         be true whether anyone knows it or not.  This
                         scientific truth is objective, cumulative,
                         independent of the lives of scientists, and
                         timeless (Wartofsky, 1968, p. 23).
                              In contrast to the views above (explana-
                         tory, instrumental, truth) are the ideas of
                         Thomas Kuhn.  Kuhn (1970, p. 24) states that
                         "no part of the aim of normal science is to
                         call forth new sorts of phenomena; indeed
                         those that do not fit the box are often not
                         seen at all.  Nor do scientists normally aim
                         to invent new theories, and they are often
                         intolerant of those invented by others."
                              In a Kuhnian framework there are two
                         kinds of science; "normal" science and "rev-
                         olutionary" science.  It is normal science
                         which occupies the daily work of most scien-
                         tists.  In Kuhn's view the aim of "normal"
                         science is to solve the puzzles and problems
                         inherent in already established phenomena and
                         theories.  The ebb and flow of normal and
                         revolutionary science suggest that scientific
                         knowledge is discontinuous, subject to the
                         interpretation of the community, and
                         time-bound:  a view clearly at odds with
                         those expressed above.  Against this back-
                         ground the aims of technology can be consid-
                              Technology serves a practical end which
                         the common bromide describes as "meeting hu-
                         man need."  But the picture is not that
                         clear, nor the conception that simple.  In-
                         deed, there appears in the literature numer-
                         ous, often conflicting, accounts of the aim
                         of technology.  In broad outline the views
                         can be grouped into two categories:  the ma-
                         terial technology of concrete objects and
                         processes and the nonmaterial technology of
                         efficient action.  The narrower view of the
                         former is probably closest to a common sense
                         notion of technology.  The latter view is
                         broader, less common, and a more abstract
                         formulation of the aim of technology.  Some
                         instances from the literature are helpful in
                         clarifying these views.
                              The restricted view sees technology as
                         aiming toward realizing concrete material ob-
                         jects.  The natural world provides material
                         resources which serve as one input into a
                         transforming process which ultimately issues
                         in an artifact (Rapp, 1981, p. 44).  Devices
                         and processes are applied and utilized within
                         technological systems which are, in turn, em-
                         bedded within larger social and economic sys-
                         tems.  The purpose of these devices,
                         processes, and systems is to relieve humans
                         from physical work, to increase the capacity
                         of human sensory organs, and to provide in-
                         creased efficiency (pp. 47-49).
                              This view lies close to the heart of
                         technology education.  "Meeting human need"
                         is the way it is often put.  But does "meet-
                         ing human need" account for the diversity of
                         technological artifacts?  Basalla (1988) does
                         not think so.  He states that "if technology
                         exists primarily to supply humanity with its
                         most basic needs, then we must determine pre-
                         cisely what those needs are and how complex a
                         technology is required to meet them.  Any
                         complexity that goes beyond the strict ful-
                         fillment of needs could be judged superfluous
                         and must be explained on grounds other than
                         necessity" (p. 6).  He continues the argument
                         by noting that "we cultivate technology to
                         meet our perceived needs, not a set of uni-
                         versal ones legislated by nature" (p. 14).
                         Diversity of technological artifacts can be
                         explained more adequately through consider-
                         ation of human aspiration and as the "product
                         of human minds replete with fantasies,
                         longings, wants, and desires" (p. 14).
                              A distinctly different view of the aim
                         of technology shifts the focus of the activ-
                         ity toward a nonmaterial character of tech-
                         nology.  Although two positions can be
                         identified, (1) efficient action, and (2)
                         social/organizational, they are not entirely
                         discrete and independent views.
                              In the first position, artifacts, de-
                         vices, and processes are acknowledged to be
                         the result of technological activity.  More
                         important, however, is the internal dynamic
                         which drives the quest for new and better ob-
                         jects of the same kind.  For example, better,
                         in this context, means increased durability,
                         reliability, speed, and sensitivity, and
                         produced at less expense and within a shorter
                         period of time.  This internal dynamic to
                         produce better objects is best expressed as
                         the pursuit of effectiveness.  Effectiveness
                         is analyzed through a theory of efficient
                         action.  The aim of technology is effective-
                         ness (efficient action) (Skolimowski, 1966,
                         pp. 372-377).
                              In the second approach the idea of effi-
                         ciency is extended explicitly into the
                         social/organizational/methodological arena.
                         This view is congenial to other aims of tech-
                         nology which have to do with artifacts, pro-
                         cedures, systems, and efficient action.  It
                         simply holds that these do not go far enough.
                         This is made clear by Bunge, (1979): "We take
                         technology to be that field of research and
                         action that aims at the control or transfor-
                         mation of reality whether natural or social"
                         (pp. 263-264).  Elaborating on this idea he
                         tentatively outlines the branches of technol-
                         ogy as follows:  (a) material technology to
                         include physical, chemical, biochemical, and
                         biological; (2) social technology to include
                         psychological, psychosociological, sociolog-
                         ical, economic, and warfare; (3) conceptual
                         technology to include computer science; and
                         (4) general technology, including automata
                         theory, information theory, linear systems
                         theory, control theory, and optimization the-
                         ory (p. 264).  Especially revealing is the
                         caption under a flow diagram depicting the
                         technological process.  The caption reads:
                         "The end product of a technological process
                         need not be an industrial good or a service;
                         it may be a rationally organized institution,
                         a mass of docile consumers or material or id-
                         eological goods, a throng of grateful, if
                         fleeced, patients or a war cemetery" (p.
                              In spirit, but not detail, Richter
                         (1982) agrees with Bunge.  Technology is seen
                         as a human phenomenon encompassing "tools and
                         practices deliberately employed as natural
                         (rather than supernatural) means for attain-
                         ing clearly identifiable ends" (p. 8).
                         Richter extends the idea of "means" to in-
                         clude ORGANIZATIONAL patterns to realize so-
                         cial ends or societal goals and SYMBOL
                         systems as technologies designed to realize
                         communication, persuasion, and computation.
                         This is obviously the broadest interpretation
                         of the aims of technology so far.  It may be
                         so broad that it weakens as a useful concept
                         to distinguish technology from other forms of
                         human activity.
                                KNOWLEDGE STRUCTURE AND CONTENT
                              An obvious concern when considering the
                         relationship between technology and science
                         is the location of the claim for knowledge.
                         Conventional thinking often situates techno-
                         logical knowledge within the same knowledge
                         base as science or in a position subsidiary
                         to scientific knowledge.  This thinking can
                         lead to the view that there is no distinct
                         cognitive content for technology or that sci-
                         ence generates new knowledge which technology
                         then applies as is evident in the phrase
                         "technology is applied science."
                              Recent scholarship in technology rejects
                         this view and claims that technology is a
                         cognitive system; that technology is know-
                         ledge (Layton, 1974).  On a superficial
                         level, the question about structure can be
                         approached by answering the question:  "Where
                         can I find knowledge about X?" Our reason for
                         wanting knowledge about X, say an air condi-
                         tioner, may be to repair, or to design, or to
                         use one.  For each of these three cases the
                         technological knowledge is different (some
                         overlap will exist), structured and presented
                         in patterns most usable for the purpose, and
                         available in textbooks, manufacturer's liter-
                         ature, reference manuals, and technical doc-
                         umentation.  Nevertheless, the technological
                         knowledge is organized, coherent,
                         intelligible, and different from scientific
                         knowledge.  This is knowledge organized
                         around devices, processes, and systems.
                              At a more abstract level technological
                         knowledge can be structured by the patterns
                         of thinking inherent in the individual
                         branches of technology (Skolimowski, 1966),
                         or by the problems put to the technologist
                         (Jarvie, 1966,), or by the methodology used in
                         problem solution (Vincenti, 1979).
                         Skolimowski illustrates specific structures
                         of thinking within branches of technology by
                         suggesting ACCURACY OF MEASUREMENT for sur-
                         veying, DURABILITY for civil engineering, and
                         EFFICIENCY for mechanical engineering (pp.
                              The idea above is extended by Jarvie
                         (1966) to include "the overriding aim that is
                         to govern the solution" (p. 387).  He sug-
                         gests that speed, appearance, low unit cost,
                         social cost, worker and customer satisfaction
                         could be aims which structure the problem
                         solution, the thinking patterns, and conse-
                         quently the knowledge structure.
                              Parallel to this view is a conclusion
                         drawn by Vincenti (1979) resulting from a
                         case study of technological methodology.  He
                         concluded that the method [parametric vari-
                         ation] used to supply data for designing air-
                         plane propellers structured the thinking
                         patterns and, consequently, the form of that
                         technological knowledge (p. 743).  It appears
                         that the problem put to the technologist and
                         the distinctive method of solution contribute
                         to patterns of thinking and to unique techno-
                         logical knowledge.
                              A fourth approach places technological
                         knowledge within a community of practition-
                         ers; a sociological approach.  Fundamental to
                         the structure of technological knowledge is
                         the practice of a technological community be-
                         cause "technological knowledge comprises tra-
                         ditions of practice which are properties of
                         communities of technological practitioners"
                         (Constant, 1980, p. 8).  In his study of
                         change in technological knowledge, two broad
                         communities within the aircraft industry were
                         considered--those concerned with propeller-
                         driven aircraft and the emergence of a commu-
                         nity formed around turbojet aircraft.  As
                         justification for this approach, Constant
                         (1984) states that "the issue is what practi-
                         tioners do, which to me is a promising and
                         fruitful path into what they know and how it
                         changes" (p. 28).  Constant provided evidence
                         of the unique structure and content of spe-
                         cific technological knowledge within each
                         community.  This should not surprise indus-
                         trial educators, who, for decades, have pur-
                         sued a similar practice.  Knowledge unique to
                         crafts and trades was defined and structured
                         by observing the practicing communities.
                              Four general comments about technolog-
                         ical knowledge will help to understand the
                         unique character of its content.  First,
                         technological knowledge is formulated in lev-
                         els of discursive and symbolic complexity
                         (Carpenter, 1974).  At the lowest level is
                         tacit knowledge which resists all attempts at
                         verbalization.  Such knowledge develops dur-
                         ing deep and sustained experience.  For exam-
                         ple, the novice welder observing an expert
                         welder might wonder how the expert knows when
                         aluminum is about to collapse as he TIG
                         welds.  When asked, the expert might reply,
                         "I just know."  Tacit knowledge is not unique
                         to technology.  It is part of every cognitive
                         system.  At the highest level, technological
                         knowledge which is obtained analytically, is
                         often expressed symbolically in mathematical
                         form.  Chvorinov's Rule is a simple example
                         from metal casting.  Expressed mathemat-
                         ically, t = B (V/A) sup n, where n = 1.5 to
                         2.0.  "The total solidification time [t] is
                         the time from pouring to the completion of
                         solidification; V is the volume of the casting;
                         A is the surface area; and B is the mold
                         constant..." (DeGarmo, 1988, p.  312).
                              The extremes in levels of technological
                         knowledge have been chosen to make a point.
                         At the worst, in the popular conception of
                         technology, tacit knowledge is assumed to be
                         the sum and substance of the cognitive con-
                         tent, and is often expressed as "technology
                         is know-how."  At the best, in the popular
                         conception, abstract, mathematical formu-
                         lations of technological knowledge have the
                         appearance of being "scientific." This leads
                         to the formulation of "technology is applied
                         science."  Both views do an injustice to the
                         richness, complexity, source, and
                         distinctiveness of technical knowledge.
                              Claims made about the content of techno-
                         logical knowledge must be situated in re-
                         lation to the content of scientific
                         knowledge.  Two case studies by Vincenti
                         (1982, 1984) illustrate such an effort.  On
                         the one hand, Vincenti (1984) documents the
                         development and refinement of technological
                         knowledge which owes no debt to science.  In
                         this case study, the knowledge of flush
                         riveting (details of rivet size, shape, head
                         angle, tolerance, material, riveting tools
                         and technique, skin thickness, countersink
                         procedures) was developed using systematic,
                         analytic, and rational procedures and "no en-
                         abling scientific discovery was necessary"
                         (p. 569).  On the other hand, Vincenti (1982)
                         selected a problem from thermodynamics
                         (control-volume) which provided wide regions
                         of overlap between engineering and physics.
                         He documented how the different communities
                         of practitioners regarded and used the con-
                         cept of control-volume--"engineers have de-
                         veloped control-volume analysis and use it,
                         physicists have not and do not ... the dif-
                         ference arises out of a difference in
                         purpose" (p. 172).  Knowledge generated by
                         engineers working with control-volume is dif-
                         ferent from science "in both style and sub-
                         stance" (p. 173).
                              Another approach can be taken by ac-
                         knowledging the necessity of scientific know-
                         ledge but recognizing its insufficiency.  In
                         this view scientific knowledge must be made
                         useful by transforming it, restructuring it,
                         and appropriating it according to the spe-
                         cific demands of a design problem (Aitken,
                         1985; Staudenmaier, 1985).
                              To an important degree the content of
                         technological knowledge is determined by
                         praxis rather than theory.  A simple example
                         is provided by fluid flow.  In classical
                         fluid mechanics flow problems are described
                         by mathematical equations and Newton's law of
                         constant viscosity.  However, printer's ink,
                         paint, grease, and coal slurries do not have
                         constant viscosities, i.e., they are non-
                         Newtonian fluids thus falling outside the
                         classical framework.  Modifications to the
                         classical mathematical equations were made
                         based on extensive testing which revealed
                         complex behaviors and additional variables.
                         Knowledge of these additional conditions re-
                         sulted directly from praxis.  This was also
                         evident in the previous examples of flush
                         riveting and metal solidification.
                              It may seem necessary to establish pri-
                         ority, historical or conceptual, between
                         praxis and theory as a way to distinguish be-
                         tween technology and science, but it is not.
                         In the development of technological knowledge
                         they reciprocate as though in dialogue with
                         one another (Caws, 1979, pp. 229-231).
                                      CONCLUDING COMMENTS
                              Differing perspectives on technology can
                         be identified by examining the claims made
                         for the aims, goals, or purposes of technol-
                         ogy.  One view holds that the goal of tech-
                         nology is to produce things, products,
                         processes, systems, installations, i.e., some
                         concrete manifestation of purposeful, struc-
                         tured praxis (Caws, 1979, p. 235) designed to
                         deliberately alter the natural world.  A sec-
                         ond perspective affirms a broader conception
                         of technology which encompasses managerial
                         and social supporting systems.  The aim, it
                         seems is toward optimization, at the techni-
                         cal and the organizational level.  Conse-
                         quently, included in, or at least in
                         principle not limited by, this concept of
                         technology could be the theory and practice
                         of bureaucratic coordination, advertising
                         strategies, management, teaching and train-
                         ing, and economic decision making (Brooks,
                         1980; Sigaut, 1985).
                              The author accepts the first of these
                         perspectives.  When technology is understood
                         in the second sense, "the concept staggers
                         under the interpretive load it has to carry"
                         (Laudan, 1984, p. 5).  Too much is subsumed
                         within the framework of technology.  For the
                         broader concept of technology to have mean-
                         ing, the characteristic and distinctive fea-
                         tures of technology would have to be
                         articulated in relation to science, econom-
                         ics, politics, business, and the like.  And
                         this is no easy task because difficult
                         questions must be addressed: questions about
                         knowledge (epistemology), values (axiology),
                         ethics, practice (praxis), and the nature of
                         each activity (metaphysics).  For our pur-
                         poses, the problem is delimited by following
                         Mitcham's (1978) suggestion that technology
                         refers to "the human making and using of ma-
                         terial artifacts in all forms and aspects"
                         (p. 232).
                              When thought of in that frame of refer-
                         ence, the nearest neighbor to technology be-
                         comes natural science and claims for
                         technology must be situated in relation to
                         natural science.  Although technology and
                         science have been discussed as independent,
                         parallel cognitive systems with "hard edges,"
                         the literature, especially in the history and
                         sociology of technology, suggests otherwise.
                         Instead, technology and science are viewed as
                         systems with "soft edges" which allow inter-
                         action and interpenetration.  This does not
                         deny the influence of the broader
                         social/cultural environment; it simply states
                         that technology has features more in common
                         with natural science than with other forms of
                         human endeavor.
                              What implications does this have for
                         technology education?  First, the profession
                         is moving closer to a theory of technology
                         which will guide program rationale, curric-
                         ulum development, textbook content, and labo-
                         ratory activities.  One aspect of this theory
                         is the relationship between technology and
                         science as expressed in distinctive ap-
                         proaches to the natural world, distinctive
                         aims and purposes, and distinctive cognitive
                              Second, a theory of technology will ar-
                         ticulate presuppositions about the ultimate
                         aim of technology.  A technology education
                         curriculum could be developed around the view
                         that technology aims toward realizing techni-
                         cal solutions manifest in artifacts, proc-
                         esses, and systems.  Or, rational effective
                         action and optimization could be the focus of
                         the curriculum.  These curriculums will dif-
                         fer radically from each other in content and
                              Finally, technological knowledge has
                         profound linkages with praxis in the gener-
                         ation of new knowledge as practical problems
                         are solved, in the development of technolog-
                         ical rules and laws, and in the formation of
                         theoretical models which rationalize practi-
                         cal experience.  This unique characteristic
                         can be emphasized through laboratory activ-
                         ities which permit students to design, fabri-
                         cate, and test technological artifacts and
                         simple systems within specified criteria.
                         These activities allow the teacher to show
                         regions of overlap between scientific and
                         technological knowledge and how the two
                         interact and interpenetrate.  They also per-
                         mit the student to generate technological
                         knowledge which can be organized, codified,
                         and communicated.
                         Rodney E. Frey is Associate Professor and
                         Head, Industrial Arts Education, Bethel Col-
                         lege, North Newton, KS.
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               Journal of Technology Education   Volume 3, Number 1       Fall 1991