Raffaele Pisano
Université des Sciences et Technologies de Lille
This paper is the second part of our recent paper ‘Historical and Epistemological Reflections on the Culture of Machines around the Renaissance: How Science and Technique Work’. In the first paper—which discussed some aspects of the relations between science and technology from Antiquity to the Renaissance—we highlighted the differences between the Aristotelian/Euclidean tradition and the Archimedean tradition. We also pointed out the way in which the two traditions were perceived around the Renaissance. The Archimedean tradition is connected with machines: its relationship with science and construction of machines should be made clear. It is enough to think that Archimedes mainly dealt with three machines: lever, pulley and screw. As underlined in the first part, our thesis is that many machines were constructed by people who ignored theory, even though, in other cases, the knowledge of the Archimedean tradition was a precious help in order to build machines. Hence, an a priori idea as to the relations between the Archimedean tradition and construction of machines cannot exist. In this second part we offer some examples of functioning machines constructed by people who ignored any physical theory, whereas, in other cases, the ignorance of some principles—such as the impossibility of a perpetuum mobile—induced the attempt to construct impossible machines. What is very interesting is that these machines did not function, of course, as a perpetuum mobile, but anyway had their functioning and were useful for certain aims, although they were constructed on an idea which is completely wrong from a theoretical point of view. We mainly focus on the Renaissance and early modern period, but we also provide examples of machines built before and after this period. We have followed a chronological order in both parts, starting from the analysis of the situation in ancient Greece. Therefore, in the first part, we have examined the relations between the Aristotelian/Euclidean and Archimedean traditions from ancient Greece to the early modern age. In this second part, we analyse the relations of Archimedean tradition/ construction of machines from ancient Greece to the 19th century, focusing on the mentioned period. We remind the reader that our aim is to prove an epistemological thesis, not to provide a complete historical endeavour. As a correlated article, the reader will find three previous paragraphs in the first above-mentioned article.
Keywords Renaissance  Machines  History of Science
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DOI 10.11590/abhps.2015.1.04
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References found in this work BETA

The Works of Archimedes.T. L. Heath - 1955 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 5 (20):355-356.

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Citations of this work BETA

Introduction.Raffaele Pisano & Philippe Vincent - 2018 - Transversal: International Journal for the Historiography of Science 5:3.

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