[Ads-l] RES: technics

David Daniel dad at COARSECOURSES.COM
Sat Aug 4 19:34:13 EDT 2018

Thanks very much. I was translating an article from Portuguese to English
and the authors insisted on differentiating between "técnica," in the
technics sense, not the everyday sense, and "tecnologia." After researching
it I reckoned they were just latching on to a precursor of the concept
of/word technology, which seems to be the case. There were other factors
involved, like who is going to understand what, as there seems to be a
difference between US and UK understanding/use of technics, such as it is,
and others. Anyway, I encouraged them to lump it all under technology. What
do you think?

Poster:       Geoffrey Nunberg <nunbergg at GMAIL.COM>
Subject:      Re: technics

I cover some of this material in a graduate seminar i co-teach on =
=E2=80=9Cconcepts of information." The OED is necessarily sketchy on =
these notions. If you need (much) more on this, there's a thick =
description of  the semantic development of =E2=80=99technology' in Leo =
Marx=E2=80=99s classic essay "Technology The Emergence of a Hazardous =
Concept," Technology and Culture, Volume 51, Number 3, July 2010, pp. =
561-577 (available on Project Muse). =E2=80=9CTechnics=E2=80=9D owes =
most of its twentieth-century currency to Lewis Mumford=E2=80=99s =
influential 1934 book Technics and Civilization.  Google ngrams shows =
that the word was rare before this=E2=80=94it surged until the early =
1960s, when it dropped off precipitiously around the same time the =
ultimately much more pervasive =E2=80=99technology=E2=80=99 was catching =
on.  http://bit.ly/2OaNb3q also http://bit.ly/2vipuPA (Oddly, the OED =
def of =E2=80=98technics=E2=80=99 cites a 1952 Mumford article rather =
than the 1934 book.)

In an essay  "Lewis Mumford: Prophet of Organicism,=E2=80=9D (not =
available online, as far as I can tell), Marx says that Mumford uses the =
term as =E2=80=9Cthe umbrella category of tools and utensils that figure =
in all of recorded history,=E2=80=9D which "enables him to stress the =
relatively brief history, hence the distinctiveness of machine =
technologies.=E2=80=9D For more, see Rosalind Williams, Lewis Mumford's =
"Technics and Civilization=E2=80=9D Technology and Culture, Vol. 43, No. =
1 (Jan., 2002), pp. 139-149 which also discusses earlier uses of the =


> Date:    Fri, 3 Aug 2018 11:13:32 -0300
> From:    David Daniel <dad at COARSECOURSES.COM>
> Subject: RES: technics
> Thanks!
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: technics
> =
> ---
> technics ...
> *2.* Chiefly *U.S.**a.* Technical details or methods collectively; the
> formal or practical aspect of an art, science, or subject; (also) =
> skill in the application of this. Now *rare*. Largely superseded by
> *technique*.1797...
> *b.* A technical method; a scientific procedure.Largely superseded by
> *technique*.   1905 ....
> technology
> 4. *a.* The branch of knowledge dealing with the mechanical arts and
> applied sciences; the study of this. 1787....
> *b.* The application of such knowledge for practical purposes, esp. in
> industry, manufacturing, etc.; the sphere of activity concerned with =
> the mechanical arts and applied sciences collectively.
> Frequently with modifying word, as *alternative technology*, *applied
> technology*, *food technology*, *information technology*, *space =
> *:
> see the first element. 1829....
> *c.* The product of such application; technological knowledge or =
> a technological process, method, or technique. Also: machinery, =
> etc., developed from the practical application of scientific and =
> knowledge; an example of this. Also in extended use. 1898....
> *5.* A particular practical or industrial art; a branch of the =
> arts or applied sciences; a technological discipline. 1858....
> On Fri, Aug 3, 2018 at 9:11 AM David Daniel <dad at coarsecourses.com> =
>> Can anyone with access to the OED tell me what it says about =
"technics" a=3D
> s
>> opposed to "technology."
>> Thanks,
>> DAD

Geoffrey Nunberg
Adjunct Full Professor
School of Information
University of California at Berkeley
Berkeley CA 94720
ph. 510-643-3894
nunberg at ischool.berkeley.edu

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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