Technopoiesis—the Forgotten Dimension of Early Technique Development

Nissim Amzallag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


A brief survey of the development of some techniques from antiquity to recent times reveals that their initial phase was stimulated not by perspectives of exploiting their outcome, as is usually expected for technology, but by the valorization of the process itself. This initial phase, defined here as technopoiesis, is conceptually and practically distinct from what subsequently becomes technology in respect of inventiveness, standardization, technical skill, level of ornamentation, practical use, integration into systems of exchange, and ritualized versus secular uses. It is shown that technopoiesis may profoundly modify the cultural environment by shaping the universe of beliefs, rituals, and values and that this influence may persist even after the transition to technology. It makes the distinction between technology and technopoiesis essential for evaluating the cultural influence of techniques, from the Paleolithic era to modern times.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)785-809
Number of pages25
JournalPhilosophy and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • Ancient techniques, prestige artifacts
  • Invention process
  • Metaphor theory
  • Technopoiesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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