And the Fire Began
Then the animals suffered
In the late 1950s, with the advancement in medical technology, human beings could not be defined dead on the ground that they could no longer breathe or that the heart beat had stopped. Why? This was because some persons presumed to be dead could be reanimated using mechanical ventilators and cardiopulmonary reanimation. Thus, “Brain death” (BD) criterion was introduced, such that a person is considered dead once there is an irreversible loss of brain function. This position led to a great debate among medical practitioners and scholars on ascertaining an alternative criterion by which a human being could be defined dead. Thus, in an attempt to avoid burying human beings alive or transplanting their organs for monetary gains, the paper posits “Anima Factoris” criterion as an alternative. This criterion is built on a holistic understanding of human nature, in which consideration is given to the non-physical, non-empirical, immaterial component of the human person which is sometimes called the Soul, Spirit, or Vital Force – that which determines human consciousness, as well as the ability to revitalize the human person even when the organs had disintegrated. Thus, the aim of this paper is to highlight the inadequacy of both ‘pulmonary’ and ‘brain death’ criteria, with the objective of demonstrating that only the departure of the psychic, non-physical comportment of the human person could determine when death actually finally occurs. Findings from ‘back-from-death’ instances (case studies?), telepathic and psychic experiences and parapsychological phenomena garnered from metaphysical or ontological investigation confirm the ‘Anima factoris’ proposal and beckons its inclusion in Africa medical procedure in the final determination of death. The methodology adopted is bibliographic review and analysis of existing case studies.
In recent times, academic research has been enhanced through the use of digital technological tools made available in form of offline and online applications or software. The use of these tools in research has created tension among scholars as emphasis is being placed on the quantitative at the expense of the qualitative aspect of research. The aim of this paper is to ensure a balance in these aspects of any academic research by calling for a minimum engagement with digital technological tools. Our objective would be to highlight the benefits of those tools in providing access to electronic versions of primary source materials and data, providing real and visual online digital libraries, facilitating easy search of book, creating interactive music scores or dynamically generated maps, as well as the digitalization of texts, images, and other data, as well as showing their limitation in enhancing researcher’s reasoning or intuitive insights in understanding and interpreting reality.This research uses a deconstructive method of interpretation to interrogate the works of forerunning digital humanities scholars like Anne Burdick, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, and Jeffrey Schnapp. It concludes with the view that the both quantitative and qualitative approaches are valid, but the goal of each research within each humanities discipline would determine the suitability of the digital or manual tools and approaches to be deployed.
Keywords: Academic, Research, Digital Tools, Technological, Scholars.
VIRTUAL TECHNOLOGY AND ‘OJU NI ORO WA’ MODEL OF COMMUNICATION: A Pragmatic Approach toward Digital Technologies for Humanities
This paper examine the existing theories of communication (For example, the joint project approach Clark 1996, The dialogue game theory, Mann 1988) in bid to formulate a new model so as to extend our knowledge about cognitive processes in human communication, as well as creating a foundation for natural dialogue in human-machine interaction. Our research agenda is based on an empirical observations of Yoruba understanding of communication in the light of ‘Oju ni oro wa’ – as a theory of communication, it accommodates the agents that engage in conversation with special attention on the non-verbal signs such as gesture, gaze, and body posture, which is a perfect model for coding, affective communication, perfect concentration, good feedback and secured coding. ‘Oju ni oro wa’, taken as a theory of communication, will provide new approaches to software developers for researchers in humanities as they deploy projects that would generate more digital resources and Virtual Technologies such as Virtual Museums, Virtual exhibitions, etc. This paper concludes with insight that would not just bridge the gap between sciences and humanities through technologies, but that would use our linguistic and communication heritage in providing contextual framework for Brain Storming stage of Software development.
Medical education in Africa has dwelt so much on the use of books and cadavers. But in recent times, attempt is being made towards the adoption of Virtual Reality (VR) technology in Medicine. The aim of this research is to find out how the use of VR medical technologies like Virtual Human Performance Laboratory, Open Surgery Simulations, Real Time Imaging, Telesurgery, Cyber therapy, Neuro-VR, etc. have offered benefits to healthcare delivery in Nigeria and Ghana. Also, the research seeks to know the techniques, procedures, and protocols being deployed by the practitioners of African indigenous Orthopedic, Herbal, and Psychic Medicines in appropriating western technologies so as to improve on theirs. Our research findings are to be obtained from the practitioners of Indigenous and Orthodox Medicine through participant observation, field work, and interviews in 20 major hospitals and local healthcare centers in Nigeria and Ghana. Our ultimate goal is to come up with findings that would promote inclusive approach in African health care delivery. The methodology of this research is both quantitative and qualitative, with a theoretical framework built on the work of Martin Heidegger in Philosophy of Medicine.
Keywords: Technology, Medicine, Indigenous Medicine, Orthodox Medicine, Virtual Reality, Inclusivity, Education,
By AUGUSTINE, AKINTUNDE FARINOLA
“The more informed our brains are by science at all levels of analysis, the better will be our brains’ theoretical evolution”
–Patricia Churchland (1986)
Discourse in philosophy about how human being could attain knowledge, right from the medieval period to the modern period has witnessed scholars making references to the ‘intellect’, the ‘mind’ or the ‘soul’. A radical change in this linguistic reference was challenged by Gilbert Ryle with his analysis of ‘ghost in the machine’. It is appear to be a primitive way of thinking, especially in our age, to still hold on to the view that there is an invisible and immaterial substance, other than the brain, that influence human or regulate human feelings, decisions and means of knowing. Meanwhile, within the tradition of philosophy, idealists and rationalists (along with religiously inclined scholars) will prefer to be consistent with their metaphysical heritage and postulations by challenging any materialistic reduction of a human person to just a material being whose movements, actions, and phenomena surrounding him could be explain simply in empirical terms.
Furthermore, a quick glance at the history of ideas, one would recall a moment (starting from David Hume down to the emergence of logical empiricists/positivists and linguists) in which a brutal war was launched against metaphysical ideas, leading to a periodical triumph of science. Though this tension was resolved by scholars like Thomas Kuhn, Karl Popper, Paul K Feyerabend and most post-modern scholars, yet it creates two camps among the scholars of science and philosophy – as the academic protector of metaphysics. On one hand, we have those who felt that in spite of the inadequacy of science in its empirical approach to the study of human being and the universe, and archaic terminologies and ideas inherited by philosophers (specifically metaphysicians) from the antiquity down to the present, a compromise could be reached in which both inquiries could enrich one another. While on the other hand, we have those who felt that such compromise could result to the purge of philosophical ideas (along with their metaphysical postulations) from sphere of intellectual inquiry. Research into the works of Philip Kitcher (in his engagement with evolutionary and molecular biology and psychology so as to give a philosophical portrait of scientific enterprise), Richard Tarnas (in his deployment of astrological ideas in his philosophical interpretation of history) and Patricia Smith Churchland (in her attempt to inter-marry neurosciences with philosophy) has shown the fruitfulness of accepting the tenet of the first camp.
Patricia Churchland, in her books, specifically in ‘Neurophilosophy: Toward a Unified Science of the Mind-Brain, noted that philosophical problems were once thought to admit of a priori solutions – a contemplation unfettered and uncontaminated by the grubbiness of empirical facts. This dogma, she argued resulted in an anti-intellectual and scoffing attitude toward science in general – an attitude that was changed through Quine’s and Sellars’s works that portrayed philosophy as being continuous and at best with the empirical sciences. She argued that since the mysteries of mind-brain function have been the concern of philosophy, cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence research, and neurosciences, and they must work together in unraveling those mysteries.
Thus, she recommended that philosophers need an understanding of what progress has been made in neuroscience so as to sustain and constrain theories about such things as how representations relate to the world, whether representations are propositional in nature, how organisms learn, whether mental states are emergent with respect to brain states, whether conscious states are a single type of state, and so on. This will prevent philosophers from remaining ‘boxed within the narrow canyons of the commonsense conception of the world’ or from ‘heroically plumping up the pillows of decrepit dogma’.
This essay therefore focuses on Patricia Churchland contribution to this interdisciplinary approach towards gaining a holistic understanding of our human nature and realities surrounding us, with specific reference to the perceived framework needed for the development of a unified theory of the mind-brain. A critical engagement with Churchland’s ideas seems to shows that a serious progress could be attained by contemporary philosophers in their engagement with longstanding questions concerning the mind, will, soul or consciousness, and intellect – ideas upon which discourse in metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics built their postulations and theories.
PATRICIA CHURCHLAND’S NEUROPHILOSOPHY
In her books, ‘Neurophilosophy: Toward a Unified Science of the Mind-Brain’ (1986), ‘Brain-Wise: Studies in Neurophilosophy (2002) and Braintrust: What Neuroscience tells us about Morality (2011), Patricia Churchland’s goal was to provide a unified, integrating theory of how the brain works. She aims at creating a bridge between philosophy and neurosciences in spite of their conceptual differences. She felt that understanding of the nature of human being, either as social or rational being, must be backed up with real data from evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and genetics, or else such explanations will be taken as mere opinion. In other words, the object of discourse for philosophy and science is the nature of man and things in general. She felt that neuroscientists, philosophers of science, and historians of science are addressing same questions.
Considering the following traditional philosophical problems: Are mental states identical to brain state? Are mental states reducible to brain state? What sort of business is reduction? What are emergent properties and are there any? What, if anything, is special about subjective point of view? Are conscious experiences physiologically understandable? What are representations and how can a brain represent the world outside itself? It is this same question that will be empirically phrased by neuroscientists thus: How is colour vision produced? How does the brain learn and how does it store information? What are representations and how does a brain represent the world outside itself? Is the human brain more complicated that it is smart? All these are questions about the brain and the mind (or the mind-brain).
Patricia Churchland began her neurophilosophical project when she noticed the possibility of linking those large-scale philosophical questions about human mind with developments in the perspective of neuroscience and theories of brain evolution, as exposed by the recent developments in biological sciences (giving us details of brain circuitry). The presupposition seem to portray scientism (the belief, or a sort of delusion, that science can explain everything or do everything) as she noted. Meanwhile, she argued that scientific enterprise does not aim to displace the arts or humanities.
Being a naturalist and a materialist, Patricia Churchland believed that the mind is simply the brain, and we can understand it better by learning from Neuroscience about the Nervous system and various cognitive functions. In Neurophilosophy, she began with an exposition of the science of the nervous systems, and gave an historical survey that portrays the works of anatomist and physicians such as: Galen (200 B.C), Descartes (1598 – 1650), Jan Swammerdam (a Dutch biologist, 1637-1680), Francois Magendie, Charles Bell (1774 – 1842), Johannes Muller (181 – 1858)  , Helmholtz (1821 – 1894), Camillo Golgi (1843 -1926), Santiago Ramon y Cajal (1852 – 1934), and C. S Sherrington (1857 – 1952).
She exposed the modern theory of Neurons as propounded by Rudolf Virchow (1856), and explained how neuron works. She also exposes three discoveries in neuropharmacology (i.e., the study of chemicals that affect neurons) and their impacts in extending our understanding of the Neurons. The first and second discoveries were made in the 1950s, and it led to the production of drugs that cured several mental diseases such as schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease; while the third discovery was made in the late 1970s.
In chapter 3, she gave us a basic understanding of functional neuroanatomy in order to enlighten on how populations of neurons are configured. She then ventured into an explanation of the functions of the entire nervous system by exposing findings in neuropsychology and neurology. She entered into a philosophical interrogation of scientific endeavour by asking questions such as: Can we develop a science of animal behaviour, human behaviour included? What will be the role of neuroscience in such a science? How can neuroscience and psychology be integrated? She tried to provide answers to these questions by drawing wealth from the ideas of philosophers of science down the history: Aristarchus (3 B.C), Plato (429 -347 B.C) , Descartes (1596 -1650), Classical Empiricists ( John Locke, George Berkeley, David Hume, John Stuart Mill and Auguste Comte), Kant (1724 -1804), Peirce (1839 -1914), Gottlob Frege (1848 -1925), Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1971), Logical empiricists and positivists, and Karl Popper.
She presented an elaborate discourse on the major revisions in the platform features of logical empiricism and tried to show the implications for the mind-body versus reduction controversy. Since the underlying assumption of her neurophilosophical project is a reductionist theses, she explore various arguments concerning the questions whether mental states and processes can be reduced to brain states and processes or whether mental states are reducible to neurobiological states. She exposed and responded to several arguments against the reductionist program, especially those based on folk psychology. She then delve into the theories of brain functions, and argued that folk psychological categories and concepts such as memory, learning, and consciousness needed to be replaced by more adequate ones.
She considered the relationship between science and humanism. Having shown that neuroscience matters to philosopher on the premises that metal processes are brain process; that the theoretical framework resulting from a co-evolution of neuroscience and psychology is bound to be superior to folk psychology; and that the knowledge, in great detail about the structure and organization of nervous systems, is necessary for an adequate theory of the mind-brain, she concluded that neuroscience needs philosophy because ongoing research must have a synoptic vision which only philosophy can give.
…a synoptic vision, transcending disciplinary boundaries but informed by the relevant disciplines, testing the integrity of the governing paradigm and investigating alternatives, is philosophy. At least, it is one very traditional way of doing philosophy. But this sort of philosophy is not an a priori discipline pontificating grandly to the rest of science; it is in the swim with the rest of science and hence stands to be corrected as empirical discovery proceeds.
At this junction, one would be tempted to ask whether neuroscience has affected the expected revolution that Patricia Churchland foresees about thirty years ago or whether discourses in epistemology and philosophy of mind transfigured by recent discoveries on how brain learns, theorizes, knows and represents. Well, we can excuse her on the basis of her humble remark about science:
…science is not on the brink of explaining everything about the brain or evolution or genetics. We know more now than we did ten years ago; ten years hence we will know even more. But there will always be further questions looming on the horizon.
Patricia Churchland also realized that her contribution to the deployment of findings in neuroscience to resolve philosophical questions will be limited because many questions in neuroscience and behavioral genetics are still unanswered. Meanwhile in her book, Brain-Wise: Studies in Neuroscience, she used her findings, over the years, in neuroscience and molecular biology to interrogate discourse in all branches of philosophy. To be specific, in Braintrust, she showed that a materialist’s understanding of the human person will not hinder the postulations of moral behaviour and norms.
Well, Patricia Churchland resurfaced, sixteen years after this initial discourse on neurophilosophy, with a new book titled ‘Brain-Wise: Studies in Neurophilosophy’. She identified several developments in brain-mind studies and interaction among disciplines such as molecular biology, experimental psychology, and several fields of neuroscience. She acknowledged the triumph of neurophilosophy and their successes in accounting for the nature of consciousness, freewill and the self. She felt she could deploy the wealth of neurophilosophy to resolve those traditional topics in philosophy.
It was a surprise to still find Patricia Churchland remarking, after sixteen years, that neuroscience is still an immature science as it has not yet attain the fundamental explanatory principles governing the brain function. In Brain-Wise, she has to make deploy findings in molecular biology to sustain our initial presumption in neurophilosophy – one wonders whether the inquiry still deserves being called ‘neurophilosophy’ or a ‘cross-disciplinary study of the mind-brain.
From a dualist perspective , it could be argued that the brain, being a separate and distinct entity from the mind, cannot be studied so as to gain information about the mind. Furthermore, even if the brain is the same entity as the mind, what neuroscientists portray is simply a structural understanding of the brain while philosophers focus on its functions.
As we accrue credits to Churchlands’ invention of the idea of Neurophilosophy (with special reference to Patricia Churchland who acts as the family spokesperson), we acknowledge the need for a guideline on how such interdisciplinary exchange of ideas could be possible without undermining the presuppositions and basic foundation of any of the disciplines. If philosophers could adopt the findings of neuroscientists in resolving traditional controversies on the notion of mind and consciousness, it would be worthwhile for quantum physicists, amidst the challenges posed by the measurement problem in quantum mechanics, adopt metaphysical insights to enrich their discourse. It’s obvious that philosophers are suspicious of scientists on the ground that they could still be acting and relating with philosophical ideas under the influence of the ‘outdated and discredited positivist ideas about what science is and about the nature of theories, meaning, and explanation’.
Patricia Churchland’s assumption that in situation when philosophy and science are working the same ground, evidence should triumph armchair reflection seems to undermine in spite of the methodological differences and variation in epistemic features, on no ground should findings in science be considered superior to that of philosophy. The ideas transmitted to us, about the nature of human mind and consciousness, from philosophers like Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Kant, Hegel, William James, Edmund Husserl and many other philosopher, cannot be waved away simply as armchair reflection in preference for form of ongoing researches in neuroscience. It pertinent to mention, at this junction, that some neuroscientists as well as philosophers believe that a unified theory of the mind-brain is an unattainable ambition. Meanwhile, Churchland’s neurophilosophy might be seen to be an effort to obey the spontaneous mandate of philosophers to engage in conceptual, descriptive analysis of discourses in science in order to display their relevance in a scientific and technologically oriented age.
If we agree that knowledge progresses and various human inquiries improve our understanding of the nature of the universe and the place of man in it, it will be logically consistent to align with emerging scientific disciplines that come up with new findings and replace them with our old ideas. Why we might be reluctant in doing so is because the insight we have about the progress of knowledge in the so-called inquiry that claim to deliver facts other than mere philosophical speculations. Considering various theories exposed in Patricia Churchland’s work, one realize that they are not saying the same thing about the brain and we could find out many years to come that none of them is correct –probably return back to beliefs and information obtained from previous philosophical speculations.
Furthermore, attack on philosophical understanding of the nature of knowledge and consciousness was based on the ground that there are some noble findings in neurosciences and molecular biology that shows that what philosophers calls the mind is just simply the brain. Meanwhile, proponents of this position need to realize that contemporary philosophical discourse on knowledge and consciousness transcends their so called factual findings. For instance, materialist explanations of consciousness, as expounded by Patricia Churchland, would be confronted with the philosophical problem of qualia. And in such situation, Churchland and other reductionist will appeal to further researches in science – a sort of ‘to be clarified in future’. In 1986, Patricia Churchland’s excuse of not being able to defend her neurophilosophical stance on the ground that neuroscience was still a relatively young science. The question now is, what progress has neurophilosophy made after twenty-nine years of progress in neurosciences
Let examine the statements: “Let the ‘brain’ investigate the ‘brain’”; “Let the ‘mind’ investigate the ‘mind’; and “Let the ‘mind’ investigate the ‘brain’”. It’s only the last statement that makes more meaning on the ground that our notion of the ‘mind’ is not simply a reference to that massive mounds of cells that works together to give us a rich representation of the world – it goes beyond that. Even if we ignore the idealists’ notion of the mind as being a spiritual or non-physical substance or effect, quantum physics is another empirical basis for asserting the error of the materialist reduction of the ‘mind’ to the brain.
To conclude, it will be recommended that philosophers should try to provide answers to questions such as : What sort of business is reduction? What conditions should be satisfied in order that identifications of phenomena can be made? How we to understand in a general way what representing are is? How are we to access the prospects of a unified account of mind-brain function? How might language relate to the world? This would enrich us and make us to stand on our feet in our interaction with development in Neurosciences (Neurobiology, Neurophysiology, Neuroanatomy, and Neuropsychology), development in Psychology (their discourse on mental Processes: Memory, Visual Perception, Cognitive and Subcognitive Processes), and development in Computer Science and Computer Modeling of Networks (and their discourse on Information Processing, on the nature of computations and representations). We need to know that philosophy cannot be seen in our own age as simple an a priori discipline.
 Neurophilosophy, p. 3
 It should be noted that she not the first to equate the mind with the brain. She took a leap from Hipprocrates and Francis Crimson.
 C.f. Patricia Churchland, Braintrust, p.3
 Neurophilosophy, p.2
 Ibid, p.3
 C.f. Patricia Churchland, Neurophilosophy, p.ix
 Ibid., p. 15
 Ibid., p. 18
 Ibid., p. 22
 Ibid., p. 27
 Ibid., p. 29
 Ibid., p. 30
 Ibid., p. 68
 Ibid., p. 69
 Ibid., p. 99
 Ibid., p. 147
 Ibid., p. 171
 Ibid., p. 239
 Ibid., p. 240
 Ibid., p. 242
 Ibid., p. 243
 Ibid., p. 244
 Ibid., p. 247
 Ibid., p. 249
 Ibid., p. 251
 Ibid., p. 252
 Ibid., p. 259
 Ibid., p. 277ff
 Ibid., p. 315ff
 Ibid., p. 349ff
 Ibid., p. 403
 Ibid., p. 481
 Ibid., p. 482
 Braintrust, p.4
 Ibid., p.10
 Brainwise, p. viii
 Brain-wise, p.ix
 Ibid., p. 4
 Ibid., p.4
Using Computer and Digital Humanities (DH) Technologies To Teach Creative Thinking In Primary And Secondary Schools
By Augustine Farinola
Philosophy for Children (P4C), as an approach developed by Professor Matthew Lipman in 1970, has helped in making young people to participate in group dialogues focused on philosophical issues through the use of visual Digital Humanities (DH) technological tools such as Videos, Images, Visual Reality, and other Computer devices. Meanwhile, this paper argues that the importation of such technologies to Africa towards teaching Philosophy at pre-tertiary level would not be productive unless there is an inclusion of African ontological and epistemological framework. Thus, the aim of this paper is to instantiate such approach by giving an analysis of how pictorial and animated depiction of African Proverbs, Folklores, Tales, and Stories have generated deep philosophical thoughts and has stimulated dialogues among young Africans and encourage them to ask questions, construct arguments, and engage in reasoned discussion. This research uses Netnography and Qualitative Research Method. Our data were extracted various online platforms such as “African Proverbs: @africanproverbspage”, “Akili and Me” Preschoolers Cartoons by Ubongo Media, Kwame Animations, Paul Ankomah’s Animation of Ananse Stories, Rashidat Hassan’s Animation of African Tales, Abdul Ndadi’s Orisha’s Journey, Mark of Uru’s Animation, and the collection of animated cartoons initiated by UNESCO Dakar and ADEA. We also analyse the Folkloric Philosophical works of Marie Pauline Eboh and Matthew Lipman’s works on method of teaching Philosophy to Children (P4C). Using the template developed, the paper concludes that the use of DH technologies with African contents and in view of African context enhance critical thinking skills in African children.
Keywords: P4C (Philosophy for Children), Digital Humanities, Technological Tools, Ontology, Epistemology,
By AUGUSTINE, AKINTUNDE FARINOLA
This paper engages in a conceptual analysis of the word ‘revolution’ as it is applied in the phenomenon of ‘technological revolution’. It analyses the linguistic meaning of the word ‘revolution’ and probes it usage in the context of scientific, political and industrial revolutions. The paper, after highlighting various technological revolutions and exposing salient innovations that emerged from each, argues the usage of the word ‘revolution’ in ‘technological revolution’ portrays the idea of new technology evolving and wiping out the existing technologies, a sort of sharp discontinuity. The paper further contends that technological revolutions, such as ‘power revolution’, ‘the information and computer technological revolution, do not just affect one technology but several technologies in that particular era, thereby reshaping the culture and material condition of the people.
Keywords: revolution, technology, technological revolution, scientific revolution, culture.
The civilizations we experience in various human societies are results of our effort to improve the conditions of our existence. As generation upon generation passes, our ideas about nature and our understanding of the best means of interacting with our world changes. To depict some of these changes in our human inquiries and techniques, we deploy linguistics terms like ‘progress’, ‘advancement’, and ‘revolution’. As part of the task of the philosopher of technology, we are advised (by Don Ihde) to reflectively analyze ‘technology’ in such a way as to illuminate features of the phenomenon of technology itself. In obedience to this mandate, this essay shall embark on the conceptual analysis of the concept of ‘revolution’ as applicable to ‘technological revolution’ with reference to various instances in the course of human history.
We shall examine the idea of ‘technological revolution’ to confirm whether it connotes a sort of incorporation of existing technologies as new ones emerges or whether it portrays a ‘sharp discontinuity’ from the prior technologies. We shall begin by examining the dictionary definitions of ‘revolution’ in order to appropriate its usage in relation to technological advancement, progress, evolution or change. Then we shall critically explore historical accounts of technological revolutions with an attempt to narrate what happened. Afterwards, we shall juxtapose scientific and technological revolutions in order to highlight their influences on each other and how the concept of ‘revolution’ could be said to be applied in the same sense to both fields of human inquiry.
Finally, we shall make some inferences, on the nature of technological revolution, from our previous exposition and analysis. This will help us to finally display our understanding of the concept of ‘revolution’ as applicable to technological revolutions, and conclude with a discourse on the proper reaction of Africans towards the ongoing technological revolution.
- CONCEPTUAL CLARIFICATION
- What is Technology?
The word ‘technology’ has evolved in its implications. It could be thought of as a piece of physical hardware, which tends to be a layman’s view of the meaning, or as the knowledge that made the hardware possible. Harvey Brooks defined technology as ‘knowledge of how to fulfill certain human purposes in a specifiable and reproducible way”.
For Brooks, technology does not consist of artifacts but of the knowledge that underlies the artifacts and the way they can be used in society. So, a holistic understanding of the term ‘technology’ must not be limited to just a piece of hardware but much be inclusive of the bodies of rules and techniques, the large knowledge base that is specific to the creation of a particular piece of hardware and that made its production and application possible. In support of this view, Joseph C. Pitt said that technology is not a thing in itself; it is the techniques and methods, including machines, tools, social systems, etc, we use to make our way in the world.
The instrumental and anthropological definition of technology portrays it as a means to an end (the manufactured and used things themselves, and the needs and ends that they serve) and as a human activity (the manufacture and utilization of equipments, tools and machines). This definition surely holds for both handicraft and modern technology except for the fact that Heidegger felt that though it is correct, it does not show us technology’s essence. 
It should be noted that the term ‘technology’ should not be confused with the term ‘innovation’. The latter is the process by which technology is created and deployed in society, implying the creation as well of whatever support systems are necessary to install and use a technology. Let’s illustrate this point by using Thomas Edison’s inventions: the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. These inventions were of little social significance on their own, they became technologies as the knowledge of how they operated became reproducible, and they became innovations when support systems – including other inventions – became available: electric- power grids, home wiring, accounting and sales bureaus in commercial organizations, and other elements of systems able to deliver power to customers.
- What is Revolution?
In the first place, the word ‘revolution’ originates in the word ‘evolution’…to re-evolve. So, as applicable to technological revolution, we might simply say that the efficiency of technology has evolved. So, the question then is: what does it mean to ‘evolve’? The linguistic meaning of ‘evolution’ means ‘to develop gradually from a simple to a more complicated from’. Secondly, the word ‘revolution’ point to ‘an epochal and irreversible change’. This understanding of ‘revolution’ was applied in a systematic way to events in science and politics. In just this sense, the first revolutions may have been the scientific revolution, and the ‘American’, ‘French’, and ‘Russian Revolutions’ are its progeny. Ordinarily in some of those instances listed above, the word ‘revolution’ might simply imply the overthrow of one power structure by another.
From antiquity through the modern period, a ‘revolution’ invoked the idea of a periodically recurring cycle. Later on, we have the idea of revolution as a radical and irreversible reordering -that is, the bringing about of a new state of affairs that the world had never witnessed before and might never witness again. Meanwhile, our analysis in this essay will aid us in arriving at a proper sense in which the concept of ‘revolution’, properly understood, could be applicable to ‘change’ or ‘evolution’, but not ‘progress’, in ‘technology’. Technological progress is quite different from technological revolution or change because the term ‘change’ is a neutral term but ‘progress’ is neither neutral nor value-laden. For Hans Jonas, technological progress refers to the restlessness of modern technology, in which a technology in itself begets the problems which it is then called upon to overcome by a new forward jump.
- TECHNOLOGICAL REVOLUTIONS
In the history of ideas and events within the human planet, we have obtained accounts of technological revolutions such as Neolithic Revolution, Agricultural Revolution, Green Revolution, Metallurgical Revolution, Industrial Revolution, Information and Communication Technological Revolution. Due to the time and space constraint of this essay, we shall briefly probe into three of these instances.
- Neolithic Revolution
It is first and foremost a socioeconomic and technological transformation which involved a shift from food-gathering to food-producing. Neolithic revolution represents a change of historical direction initiated by humans themselves in response to their changing environments. The Neolithic revolution was a techno-economic process that occurred without the aid or input of any independent science.
This first major technological revolution (the domestication of plants and animals) points the transformation of hunter-gatherer societies into pastoral, horticultural, or agricultural societies. Such that plant and animal domestication allowed societies to adapt to the nexus of population and resource pressures, solutions were provided to problems such as malnutrition, starvation, epidemic disease, social inequality, and environmental degradation. There are instances in which innovation itself can also be considered a technology when and if it is reduced to a set of specified rules and procedure.
- Industrial Revolution
The industrial Revolution was a confluence of technological breakthroughs that began roughly with the invention of steam-powered equipment in the 18th century. Steam power amplified the horse-power (that is, the hydro, wind, and animal powered systems already in place) being applied in the world’s production process. This new technology overcome the previous constraints that limited the distance between the power source and the production activity, and the modern factory an new forms of transportation was born as we have steamships and railroads (instead of canal boats) and the motion of the world accelerated.
In the case of Industrial revolution, the conversion from invention to full assimilation was drawn out over roughly half a century. For instance, it took nearly forty years, after its invention, before electricity was brought to U.S households
- Transportation and Communication Technological Revolution
This revolution occurred at the turn of the 20th century along with the invention of publishing, telephone, radio, photographic, and motion picture industries. In this same period, the widespread use of computers was revolutionary too as computers makes new products and services possible.
- SCIENTIFIC-TECHNOLOGICAL REVOLUTION: An Analysis
Considering the complex relationship that exists between science and technology, any analysis of technological revolution that excludes scientific revolution will obviously be inadequate. Meanwhile, it would be wrong to think that science is the basis of technological revolution. Using the scientific communities in the West (as distinct from those in the Islamic world or the East) as instances, those technological developments so essential for science and for the economic growth of the West were not themselves the products of scientific research. Some preceded the origin of the new science, others were developed without scientific understanding of how or why they worked; many, in fact, provided the impetus for development of new scientific fields.
It will be pertinent at this point to note the sense in which we distinguish between ‘science’ and ‘technology’. By ‘science’, we strictly refer to the modern sciences of physics, chemistry, biology, and geology – and their numerous extensions: psychology, nuclear physics, biochemistry, cosmology, and more. While by ‘technology’, we refer primarily to the modern activities of making ad using artifacts, especially in applied science, engineering, medicine, decision-making, and management. As noted, we could notice that these two terminologies are different though interrelated. While science provides descriptive knowledge of the world, technology provides increasingly powerful means. Meanwhile, we cannot deny the fact that some aspects of technology are highly dependent on scientific knowledge or theory (for example, designer materials, computers, biotechnology, and genetic engineering). So, one might simply say that science and technology as similar in the sense that they independently produce both the devices as well as the knowledge and differs in the sense that while the aim of science is to find truth about the physical world, technology aims at solving practical problems. As Hans Jonas puts it, ‘mutual feedback operates between science and technology; each requires and propels the other. It is either they live together or must die together’
So, technological revolution is not necessarily based on prior progress in science, but on prior technological revolutions. The question then is whether technological revolution is a sort of improvement over the earlier or existing technologies or whether is a sharp ‘discontinuity’ from the prior technologies. If we understand the concept of revolution taking a leap from one of the leading figures that has played a comparable role for contemporary technology studies, Thomas Kuhn, we will argues too that technological revolution connotes the idea of new technology evolving and wiping out the existing technologies, a sort of sharp discontinuity or ‘paradigm’ shift.
In The Structure of Scientific Revolution (1970), Thomas Kuhn discussed diverse individual revolutions with particular emphasis on Corpenican, Newtonian, Chemical and Einsteinian revolutions. He suggested that scientific revolutions have a three-beat sequence of stages. The pattern begins with a period of ‘normal science’, within which scientists apply and extend a dominant ‘paradigm’. The second stage is a period of conflict within which supporters of a second paradigm seek to overthrow the hitherto dominant paradigm. And the third stage is a new period of normal science under the victorious second paradigm. It should be noted that a number of historical developments traditionally labeled “revolutions” appear to fit the Kuhnian pattern: Transition from Aristotelian physics to Newtonian physics, from Phlogiston chemistry to oxygen chemistry, from Newtonian mechanics to general relativity theory, and from classical physics to quantum physics. Can we say that technological revolution also follows this pattern?
Scientific revolution might point to a coherent, cataclysmic, and climatic event that fundamentally and irrevocably changed what people knew about the natural world and how they secured proper knowledge of that world. It could be interpreted as a process of rethinking older experience. This revolution witnesses the contributions of individual disciplines and was an event that primarily has to do with not just the mathematical and physical sciences but also possessed chemical, pharmaceutical, or medical features as well.
From a historical point of view, we can establish the fact that the revolutions in science over the last fifty years impacted a revolutionary style to technology and the reciprocity between the two concurrent steams (take Nuclear physics as an instance). It’s obvious that an agent of restlessness is implanted in modern technology by its functionally integral bond with science.
- CONCEPTUAL UNDERSTANDING OF TECHNOLOGICAL REVOLUTION
Technological revolution changes the conception or definition of technology, a sort of paradigm shift. Technology has previously been defined as comprising the use of artificial implements for the business of life, together with their original invention, improvement, and occasional additions. But this conception changes with the advent of modern technology. That was why Hans Jonas argued that new technologies sometime suggest or impose new ends:
“who had ever wished to have in his living room the Philharmonic orchestra, or open heart surgery, or a helicopter defoliating a Vietnam forest? Or to drink his coffee from a disposable plastic cup? Or to have artificial insemination, test-tube babies, and host pregnancies? Or to see clones of himself and other walking about?
Technological revolution occurred more by accident than by design. In other words, they are not consciously created changes. This fact could be supported with instances from Agricultural revolution and the Metallurgical revolution.
Technological revolution is an occurrence which affects not just one technology but several technologies. This fact is well illustrated using Power revolution as an instance. The creation and spread of new sources of power is the fundamental revolution of all. The power revolution laid the foundation for the new technologies that transformed transportation, communication, and production. It hastened the settling of the continent, multiplied the productivity of a people short on labour, and became an indispensable engine driving material progress.
Just as scientific revolution led to technological advancement, the latter also advances the former. For instance, advances in chemistry produced a host of new products from coal tar such as medicine, perfumes, aniline dyes, benzene, and carbolic acid. They also gave the world glucose syrup, nitroglycerine, cheap aluminum and fertilizers. In turn, the industrial revolution of the 19th century brought the discovery of germ theory, use of anesthesia, artificial limbs, antiseptic surgery, and other advances. New telescopes, microscopes, and spectroscopes transformed the field of optics, and the kinetoscope offered the promise of a seductive new form of entertainment in the form of moving pictures.
Technological revolution makes old ideas and old ways of doing things obsolete. This fact is obvious from the instances of recent technological revolutions such as revolution in Information and Communication Technology (starting with the advent of the telephone to the present age of wireless and internet enabled computers) and The Military Technological Revolution (with the development of new war-fighting technologies). The ICT revolution brought about a faster and less expensive means of transmitting data and ideas around the globe. It is changing the world of ideas in essentially the same way that railroads changed our conception of physical transportation. That was why Maury Klein argued that Technological revolutions rewrite not only the material conditions of our existence but also reshape culture and even human nature.
Technological revolutions rewrite not only the material conditions of our existence but also reshape culture and even – perhaps – human nature. The scientific revolution, the Enlightenment, the consumer revolution, and the industrial revolution are among the most important revolutions of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that were deemed to have ushered in the modern age. The succession of scientific, industrial, and political revolutions really ushers in the modern age, and this lasted through at least the middle of the twentieth century. It was actually the emergence of industrial society in the eighteenth century that resulted in an industrial revolution – a revolution that was made possible by technological innovations in metallurgy, chemical technology, and mechanical engineering. As a matter of fact, the recent emergence of an information society is also the product of a largely technological revolution, in information technology. Many authors point specifically to the revolution in information technology as a moment of entering into an information age (or, equivalently, a postindustrial age) in which an economy based on information, not goods, has become the organizing principle of society.
In this essay, we have been engaged in a descriptive and analytic view of technological revolution without delving into the issue of whether technological revolutions increase inequality, promote violence, threaten cultures or harm the environment. Such ethical concern is not within the scope this paper. Meanwhile, we shall use the insights obtained from our analysis to probe the current technological trend so as to recommend the proper attitude developing nations in Africa needed to display towards ‘technological revolution’.
In this 3rd millennium, the emerging technologies aim at just one thing – to create better humans! Towards this end, we have witnessed a lot of research efforts in the discipline of science and technology (fields such as Biomedical engineering, Genetic engineering, Neurobiology, Neurosciences, Biophysics, Biotechnology and Nanotechnology). The dissatisfaction of researchers, technologists, and innovators behind this revolution is in the limitation of our human nature. This provokes this call their restless zeal to create ‘SUPER HUMANS’. Today, Genetic Engineers claim to have gained the ability to ‘create life’ to ‘specification’ and to temper with human genes in order to create a better human. Recently, we witnessed the interchanging of organs between species and growing of human organs on animal tissues.
In Computer and Communication Technology, attention has shifted from creating computers to the creation of robots. Robots, they think, would assists mankind as they are built to surpass humans in various activities and to do what humans literally cannot do. Countries like Japan, China, Germany, UK, France, South Korea, Canada, Italy and Brazil lead in robotic technology as they deploy researchers, engineers, technocrats and specialists in artificial intelligence, and 3D Artists in developing robot that could respond to quick actions. Some of their inventions include: Multi-legged Robots, NASA’s Robot Astronaut, NEXI-Robot, SEROPI-2,ALPHA-DOG-Robot,HUBO,ASIMOetc.
Furthermore, experts in Robotics engineering and the field of Artificial Intelligence, in collaboration with Biomedical engineers, Neurobiologists, Neurosurgery, Biophysicists, Biotechnicians, and engineers of Nanotechnology, have presented their ‘breakthroughs’ in creating spare parts or laboratory grown organs for vital human heart, kidney, liver, and lungs; in keeping a human brain alive outside the body ( or even transporting a human head from one body to another); in understanding and manipulating brain processes and signals through the use of microchips or tiny electrode that could replace part of the brain or posses more brain power; and in understanding and altering human DNA Code in order to remake humans. From our analysis above, are these not instances of technological revolution?
This paper recommends that Africans, in their effort to adopt and adapt various outputs of technological revolutions emerging from the leading nations (United State, China, Germany, UK, France, South Korea, Canada, Italy), need to realize that the ongoing technological revolution, unlike previous ones, is a pure abuse of science and technology which will eventually have a ‘backfire’ on humanity. Africans should never be carried away be the eloquence of advocates of adoption of technological revolution, but carefully adopt only those ones that will be suitable to our environment, culture, and our location within the Cosmos. The questions that should continue to linger on our minds include: What will the world look like in the next 30 years? Will these restless individuals succeed in creating creatures that will violate or transcend human limits? Are we still going to be considered ‘humans’ when they succeed in transplanting consciousness, human soul/spirit, or human personality? Will Scientists surpass ‘God’ in REMAKING HUMANS?
 Don Hide, Philosophy of Technology (New York: Paragon House, 1987), p.38
 Harvey Brooks, “Technology , Evolution, and Purpose” in Modern Technology: Problem or Opportunity? Daedalus 109, no. 1 (Winter 1980), p.66
 C.f. Joseph C. Pitt, Doing Philosophy of Technology: Essays in a Pragmatist Spirit (USA: Springer,2011), p.viii
 C.f. Martin Heidegger, ‘The Question Concerning Technology’ in Robert C. Scharff and Val Dusek (eds.), Philosophy of Technology, The Technological Condition: An Anthology (UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2003), p.253
 C.f. Eugene B. Skolnikoff, The Elusive Transformation: Science, Technology, and the Evolution of International Politics (Princeton, NJ. Publication: Princeton University Press, 1993), p. 16
 Oxford Advanced Learner Dictionary, 6th Edition, p.398
 C.f. Steven Shapin, The Scientific Revolution (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), p.2
 C.f. Hans Jonas, ‘Towards a Philosophy of Technology’, op.cit., p.193
 James E. McClellan III and Harold Form, Science and Technology in World History: An Introduction 2nd Ed. (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), p.17
 Ibid., p.23
 C.f. David Hess, ‘
 C.f. Jerry L Jordan, “Riding the S-Curve: Thriving in a Technological Revolution” in Economic Commentary (Cleveland), Jan 1, 2001, p.1
 C.f. Jerry L Jordan, “Riding the S-Curve: Thriving in a Technological Revolution”, op.cit, p.3
 C.f. Andrea Hornstein, “Growth Accounting with Technological Revolution’ in Economic Quarterly Vol.85, Issue 3, 1999, p.1
 C.f. Hedley, R. Alan, “Technological Diffusion or Cultural Imperialism? Measuring the Information Revolution” in International Journal of Comparative Sociology, Vol. 39, Issue 2, June 1998, p.1984
 C.f. Eugene B. Skolnikoff, op.cit.,p.15
 C.f. Encyclopedia of science, technology and ethics, p. xiii
 This opinion is actually a re-affirmation of Kitcher’s argument in his book ‘Science, Truth, an d Democracy’ (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), p.97
 Hans Jonas, ‘Towards a Philosophy of Technology’, op.cit., p.195
 C.f.,Ibid., p.76
 C.f.,Ibid., p.78
 C.f. Steven Shapin, The Scientific Revolution (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), p.1
 C.f. Bruce T. Moran, Distilling Knowledge: Alchemy, Chemistry, and The Scientific Revolution (London: Harvard University Press, 2005), p.157
 C.f. Hans Jonas, “Toward a Philosophy of Technology” in Robert C. Scharff and Val Dusek (eds.), The Philosophical Condition: An Anthology, op.cit., p.191
 C.f. Maury Klein, The Genesis of Industrial America 1879-1920 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), p.15
 C.f. M Klein, ibid., p.80
 C.f. Jerry L Jordan, “Riding the S-Curve: Thriving in a Technological Revolution”, op.cit, p.6
 C.f. Maury Klein, The Genesis of Industrial America (1870-1920) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), p.15
 C.f. Nick Bostrom, ”Technological Revolutions: Ethics and Policy in the Dark” in Nanoscale: Issues and Perspectives for the Nano century, eds. Nigel M. does Cameron and M. Ellen Mitchell Eds. (John Willey,2007), p.129
 C.f. Thomas J. Misa, “The Compelling Tangle of Modernity and Technology” in Thomas J. Misa et al(eds.)., Modernity and Technology (USA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2003), p.6
 C.f. Ibid., p.12
 C.f. Ibid., p.33
 C.f. Philip Brey, ”Theorizing Modernity and Technology” in Thomas J. Misa et al(eds.)., Modernity and Technology (USA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2003), p.43
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