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Techne is a Greek term used within considerations pertaining to philosophy. Techne resembles epistēmē in the implication of knowledge of principles, although techne differs in that its intent is making or doing as opposed to disinterested understanding.
As an activity, techne is concrete, variable, and context-dependent. As one observer has argued, techne "was not concerned with the necessity and eternal a priori truths of the cosmos, nor with the a posteriori contingencies and exigencies of ethics and politics. [...] Moreover, this was a kind of knowledge associated with people who were bound to necessity. That is, techne was chiefly operative in the domestic sphere, in farming and slavery, and not in the free realm of the Greek polis."
Aristotle saw it as representative of the imperfection of human imitation of nature. For the ancient Greeks, it signified all the mechanic arts, including medicine and music. The English aphorism, "gentlemen don’t work with their hands", is said to have originated in ancient Greece in relation to their cynical view on the arts. Due to this view, it was only fitted for the lower class while the upper class practiced the liberal arts of ‘free’ men (Dorter 1973).
Socrates also compliments techne only when it was used in the context of epistēmē. Epistēmē sometimes means knowing how to do something in a craft-like way. The craft-like knowledge is called a technê. It is most useful when the knowledge is practically applied, rather than theoretically or aesthetically applied. For the ancient Greeks, when techne appears as art, it is most often viewed negatively, whereas when used as a craft it is viewed positively because a craft is the practical application of an art, rather than art as an end in itself. In The Republic, written by Plato, the knowledge of forms "is the indispensable basis for the philosophers' craft of ruling in the city" (Stanford 2003).
Techne is often used in philosophical discourse to distinguish from art (or poiesis). This use of the word also occurs in the digital humanities to differentiate between linear narrative presentation of knowledge and dynamic presentation of knowledge, wherein techne represents the former and poiesis represents the latter.
Usage in Art History 
“In fact, techne and ars referred less to a class of objects than to the human ability to make and perform…. the issue is not about the presence or absence of a word but about the interpretation of a body of evidence, and I believe there is massive evidence that the ancient Greeks and Romans had no category of fine art.” (Shiner 2001 p.19-20)
Larry Shiner in his work The Invention of Art argues that techne cannot be simply translated to art nor either simply to craft. This being due to art and craft being socially constructed at a certain period in history.
See also 
Additional References 
Dunne, Joseph. Back to the Rough Ground: 'Phronesis' and techne in Modern Philosophy and in Aristotle. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1997. (ISBN 978-0-2680-0689-1)
- Epistēmē and techne from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Dictionary of Philosophy
- Kenneth Dorter "The Ion: Plato’s Characterization of Art"