The Relationship Between Technique and Science: Exploring the Origins and Interconnections

Lucas Charbonnier

Lucas Charbonnier

Jan 04, 20244 min read


The Relationship Between Technique and Science: Exploring the Origins and Interconnections

Introduction: The Interplay between Technique and Science

The relationship between technique and science has long been a topic of debate. Some argue that technique is merely an application of scientific knowledge, while others believe that technique predates science and is essential for human survival. In this article, we will delve into the origins of technique and its connection to science, exploring how they both enrich and depend on each other.

Part I: Technique Precedes Science

1. A Question of Chronology

Historically, technique has emerged before science, serving as a vital tool for human survival. Renowned philosopher Henri Bergson highlights that humans were first homo faber, tool builders, before becoming homo sapiens, individuals seeking knowledge about the world. For example, in the Neolithic era, the practice of trepanation, which involved drilling holes into the skull, was common, despite lacking any scientific understanding of cranial anatomy or brain mechanisms.

2. Science as a Solution to Technical Challenges

While technique predates science, it often encounters numerous failures due to its spontaneous and routine nature. These failures lead humans to ponder the reasons behind them, giving birth to scientific inquiry. Science seeks to understand the underlying principles behind techniques and overcome their limitations, providing solutions to technical challenges.

Part II: Mutual Enrichment of Technique and Science

1. Science Enhancing Technique

Science plays a crucial role in enhancing technique, leading to remarkable successes. One notable example is the laser. The development of lasers required a deep understanding of scientific principles, such as quantum mechanics and optics. Through scientific advancements, techniques like laser technology have revolutionized various fields, including medicine, communication, and manufacturing.

2. Technique as a Foundation for Science

Technique is not only enhanced by science but is also indispensable for scientific inquiry. It serves as the core of the scientific process, allowing hypotheses to be tested and verified through the use of instruments. Even the most disinterested scientific endeavors contribute to the success of techniques, such as the discovery of the Higgs boson.

Part III: The Duty Dilemma: Constraint or Obligation?

The concept of duty often sparks discussions about whether it is a constraint or an obligation. To shed light on this dilemma, we will explore how duty is intertwined with moral choices and the inherent conflicts it presents.

1. Duty as Moral Obligation

Duty, according to philosopher Immanuel Kant, arises from a free choice. It is an autonomous decision made based on moral principles. Obligations of duty are not imposed externally but are instead self-imposed, rooted in personal morality and ethics.

2. Duty as Resistance to Desires

Duty requires individuals to resist their desires, making it a test of willpower. It presents a unique challenge, as it demands individuals to navigate the conflict between their rational will and their often shameful desires. Animals, lacking moral agency, do not experience moral duty as they are driven solely by instincts that are limited by external necessities.

The experience of duty involves a deep internal conflict between reason and desire. It is through this struggle that the true essence of duty is revealed. The feeling of shame serves as a compass, signaling actions that should be avoided. Conversely, the absence of shame indicates a lack of moral sense, leading to amorality and the absence of boundaries in one's actions.

Part IV: Duty as Constraint

1. Social Constraints

Duty can also be seen as a social constraint, as societal norms and expectations often dictate our obligations. These constraints stem from the collective agreements and expectations within a given society. While they may limit individual freedom to some extent, they also promote social order and cohesion.

2. Physical Constraints

In some instances, duty can manifest as a physical constraint. For example, individuals may have a duty to follow safety protocols in hazardous environments, limiting their actions for the sake of personal and collective well-being.

Conclusion: The Interconnectedness of Technique and Duty

The relationship between technique and science is one of mutual enrichment, with each depending on the other for progress and advancement. Technique precedes science, serving as a practical solution to human needs. However, science enhances technique by providing a deeper understanding of underlying principles. Similarly, duty is both an obligation and a constraint, requiring individuals to navigate the conflicts between desires and moral principles.

Actionable Advice:

1. Embrace the interplay between technique and science by seeking a balance between practical applications and scientific understanding. This integration can lead to innovative solutions and advancements.

2. Cultivate a sense of duty by reflecting on your moral principles and actively resisting temptations. Embrace the internal conflicts that duty presents, as they offer opportunities for personal growth and ethical development.

3. Recognize that duty can arise from both personal moral choices and external societal expectations. Find a harmonious balance between personal autonomy and social obligations, ensuring that your actions contribute positively to both individual and collective well-being.


  1. "La technique n'est-elle qu'une application de la science ?", (Glasp)
  2. "Le devoir est-il une contrainte ou une obligation ?", (Glasp)

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