This article examines the communication networks within and between science and technology studies (STS) and the history of science. In particular, journal relatedness data are used to analyze some of the structural features of their disciplinary identities and relationships. The results first show that, although the history of science is more than half a century older than STS, the size of the STS network is more than twice that of the history of science network. Further, while (...) a majority of the journals in the STS network are connected by weak ties, about half of the history of science network consists of strong ties. The history of science network is thus more cohesive than the STS network. The relatively strong cohesion within the history of science network is associated with comparatively high degrees of intra-disciplinary communication, but comparatively weak ties to only a few related disciplines. The analysis also shows that very few members of the history of science cliques are situated on the shortest path between both specialties. Moreover, given the relatively impermeable nature of the history of science network, the latter partially depends on STS to reach some of the neighboring disciplines. (shrink)
This book provides a comprehensive and up-to-date one-volume history of American technology from the pre-colonial period to the present day. Cowan writes clearly. Each chapter has a clear take-home message illustrated and amplified with straightforward, easily understood examples.
Wolf's study represents an incredible work of scholarship. A full and detailed account of three centuries of innovation, these two volumes provide a complete portrait of the foundations of modern science and philosophy. Tracing the origins and development of the achievements of the modern age, it is the story of the birth and growth of the modern mind. A thoroughly comprehensive sourcebook, it deals with all the important developments in science and many of the innovations in the social sciences, British (...) and Continental philosophy and psychology. Wolf's exposition is clear and accessible. As well as its comprehensive treatment of the practical innovations, it includes a wealth of biographical information to give a human aspect to the extensive canvas. A mine of useful information that will be repeatedly used for reference, it is also lavishishly illustrated throughout. These two volumes, published together for the first time, present in one invaluable source the history, methods and principles that form the foundations of science and philosophy. --covers both the major and minor figures in the history of science and philosophy --accessible to the general reader --provides all necessary information on the period immediately before and after the dates covered --both volumes are fully indexed --lavishly illustrated with over 660 portraits, diagrams of scientific apparatus and instruments, frontispieces, B&W photographs Abraham Wolf (1877-1948) other works include: The Oldest Biography of Spinoza (1927), The Philosophy of Nietzsche (1915). (shrink)
Biological evolution and technological innovation, while differing in many respects, also share common features. In particular, implementation of a new technology in the market is analogous to the spreading of a new genetic trait in a population. Technological innovation may occur either through the accumulation of quantitative changes, as in the development of the ocean clipper, or it may be initiated by a new combination of features or subsystems, as in the case of steamships. Other examples of the latter (...) type are electric networks that combine the generation, distribution, and use of electricity, and containerized transportation that combines standardized containers, logistics, and ships. Biological evolution proceeds, phenotypically, in many small steps, but at the genetic level novel features may arise not only through the accumulation of many small, common mutational changes, but also when distinct, relatively rare genetic changes are followed by many further mutations. In particular, capabilities of biologically modern man may have been initiated, perhaps some 150 000 years ago, by one or few accidental but distinct combinations of modules and subroutines of gene regulation which are involved in the generation of the neural network in the cerebral cortex. It is even conceivable that it was one primary genetic event that initiated the evolution of biologically modern man, introducing some novel but subtle feature of connectivity into the cerebral cortex which allowed for meta-levels of abstraction and upgraded modes of information processing. This may have set the stage for the evolution of integrated but diverse higher capabilities such as structured language, symbolic thought, strategic thought, and cognition based empathy. (shrink)
It is sometimes remarked that while the preoccupation with the history of technology is a mature and well-established discipline, the preoccupation with the philosophy of technology is at best recent, and at worst considered as marginal in academic terms. In contrast, its relative, the philosophy of science is eminently respectable and unquestioningly accepted by the philosophical community.This paper, first, briefly sets out the historical relationship between science and technology in the West. Against such a context, it (...) then looks at the epistemological values and goals embedded respectively in the philosophy of science and the philosophy of technology, to consider their overlap as well as their differences. It uses the study of genetics, its two revolutions in the twentieth century – classical Mendelian genetics and DNA molecular genetics – as an example to demonstrate these points of similarities and differences, thereby also establishing that the philosophy of technology is indeed a serious preoccupation. (shrink)
This essay sketches an expanded theoretical conception of the roles of nature and technology in history, one that is based on a social ontology that does not separate nature and society. History has long been viewed as the realm of past human action. On this conception, nature is treated largely as an Other of history, and technology is construed chiefly as a means for human fulfillment. There is no history of nature, and the (...) class='Hi'>history of technology becomes the history of useful products. The essay discusses the changes wrought in these understandings by a social ontology that depicts social existence as inherently transpiring in nexuses of practices and material arrangements. The first implication is that the domain of history should be expanded from the realm and course of past human activity to the realm and course of past practice–arrangement nexuses. In turn, this wider conception transforms the significance of nature and technology in history. Until recently, most accounts of the relationship between society/history and nature have presumed that society and history are separate from nature. On my account, by contrast, nature is part of society: a component of the practice–arrangement nexuses through which social life progresses. Human history, consequently, is a social–natural history that encompasses the varying presence and roles of nature in human coexistence. Technology, meanwhile, is not just useful products, and not just a mediator of society/history and nature. It also is something through which humans manage social life and the nature that is part of it, largely by drawing nature into this site and thereby conjointly transforming society, technology, and nature in history; and something that, over time, plays an increasingly central role in the nexuses where social life transpires. Through technology, in short, social–natural history takes form and advances. (shrink)
Ian Inkster (ed.): History of technology. Vol. 29. London: Continuum, 2009, 232pp, £90.00 HB Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-2 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9523-7 Authors Aristotle Tympas, Department of Philosophy and History of Science, University of Athens, University Campus, 157 71 Athens, Greece Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
History of medicine is taught in West Germany as part of the standard course offerings for medical students and is well represented at many universities. But history of science and technology unfortunately still lacks any adequate supporting system and accordingly barely continues to survive at a few institutions of the Federal Republic. Although history of medicine serves a different function than history of science and technology, closer cooperation between these groups is possible and greatly (...) desired for the future. (shrink)
The history of science and technology has been a scholarly discipline with little attention given to the special needs of undergraduate teaching. What needs to be done to transform a discipline to an undergraduate subject? Suggestions include using the relation between science and technology as well as the role of interpreters in formulation of the popular world view. Relations with science and history departments are considered. Curriculum materials are surveyed with some recommendations for correcting deficiencies.
Michel Haar supports the natural, but he fails to see that the drives behind technology— people's curiosity, exploration and desire to control—could not be more natural. They are, after all, part of our evolutionary heritage. As Konrad Lorenz, the famous ethologist, shows in Behind the Mirror. In his discussion of alienation, Haar also overlooks the work of Friedrich Hayek, the Nobel prizewinning economist, who explores the emergence of the extended society of worldwide markets in his book Fatal Conceit. Hayek (...) predicts that there will always be a tension between our instinctive need for the closeness and familiarity of the tribal-like grouping and the extended market. I contrast Haar also with the perspective of William Warren Bartley III in his book Unfathomed Knowledge, Unmeasured Wealth, in which a Bartley expounds a logical/epistemological argument to the effect that alienation of our products is insuperable. (shrink)
This article reviews some of the technological devices and ideas which have been used over the years to answer the question, how does the brain work? It describes some of the early technology-based analogies and models of nerve fibers, and then discusses other analogies and models of the brain based on mechanical and electrical technologies. There are also short sections on cybernetics, telephone exchanges, and computers. Although all of these ideas are flawed to some extent, this article offers a (...) brief argument on the usefulness of analogy and abstraction in brain science. (shrink)
An interdisciplinary reappraisal of Lynn White, Jr.’s “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis” reopens several issues, including the suggestion by Peter Harrison that White’s thesis was historical and that it is a mistake to regard it as theological. It also facilitates a comparison between “Roots” and White’s earlier book Medieval Technology and Social Change. In “Roots,” White discarded or de-emphasized numerous qualifications and nuances present in his earlier work so as to heighten the effect of certain rhetorical aphorisms (...) and to generalize their scope and bearing well beyond what the evidence could bear. The meaning of Genesis and other biblical books proves to be just as important in White’s thesis as their historical reception. In “Roots,” White presents, alongside other contentions, the claims that Christian doctrines have all along been both anthropocentric and despotic, especially in the West, and that this is where the real roots of the problems are to be found. These claims, however, conflict with most of the relevant evidence. An adequate reappraisal of White’s work needs to recognize that there is a cultural determinism parallel to the technological determinisms alleged by R. H. Hilton and P. H. Sawyer, to endorse Elspeth Whitney’s “single-cause” critique of links between religion and technological change in the Middle Ages, and to treat sympathetically Whitney’s claim that White and some of his eco-theological critics (despite their disagreements) have in common both their valorizing of individual beliefs and values and their neglect of economic and institutional factors. Nevertheless, our ecological problems need to be understood through explanations turning on beliefs and values as well as on economics and institutions. (shrink)
As policy makers struggle to develop regulatory oversight models for nanotechnologies, there are important lessons that can be drawn from previous attempts to govern other emerging technologies. Five such lessons are the following: public confidence and trust in a technology and its regulatory oversight is probably the most important factor for the commercial success of a technology; regulation should avoid discriminating against particular technologies unless there is a scientifically based rationale for the disparate treatment; regulatory systems need to (...) be flexible and adaptive to rapidly changing technologies; ethical and social concerns of the public about emerging technologies need to be expressly acknowledged and addressed in regulatory oversight; and international harmonization of regulation may be beneficial in a rapidly globalizing world. (shrink)
The year 2001, the first of our twenty-first century, marks a turning point in the publication of the work of Martin Heidegger. That year, the very first courses he taught during the Third Reich were published. Under the seemingly noble title Being and Truth (Sein und Wahrheit), the double volume 36/37 of the complete works (Gesamtausgabe) grouped the 1933 summer course, The Fundamental Question of Philosophy (Der Grundfrage der Philosophie), and the 1933/34 winter semester course, On the Essence of Truth (...) (Vom Wesen der Wahrheit). Why was this a turning point? For one thing, these are among the most explicitly National Socialist and Hitlerian courses he taught. In them, we discover that Heidegger does not limit .. (shrink)
Jean Baudrillard loved cinema and was fascinated by the collusions which occur between it and life. He also believed that technologies of virtualization and the pursuit of realism were deeply harmful to the quality of the cinematic image. Precisely at the time when cinema was subject to these forces he pointed out that it is coming to play a far more important role in the collective understanding of history than are the best scholarly histories. Because of the focus he (...) took concerning cinema his work will remain important to discussions of the intersections between film and philosophy well into the future. (shrink)