Philosophy and Technology 33 (1):117-139 (2020)

Sven Ove Hansson
Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm
In spite of their practical importance, the connections between technology and mathematics have not received much scholarly attention. This article begins by outlining how the technology–mathematics relationship has developed, from the use of simple aide-mémoires for counting and arithmetic, via the use of mathematics in weaving, building and other trades, and the introduction of calculus to solve technological problems, to the modern use of computers to solve both technological and mathematical problems. Three important philosophical issues emerge from this historical résumé: how mathematical knowledge depends on technology, the definition of the hybrid concept of a computation, and the usefulness of mathematics in technology. Each of these issues is briefly discussed, and it is shown that in order to analyze them, we need to combine tools and ideas from both the philosophy of technology and the philosophy of mathematics. In conclusion, it is argued that much more of interest can be found in the historically and philosophically unexplored terrains of the technology–mathematics relationship.
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DOI 10.1007/s13347-019-00348-9
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On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem.Alan Turing - 1936 - Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society 42 (1):230-265.
The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences.Eugene Wigner - 1960 - Communications in Pure and Applied Mathematics 13:1-14.

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