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History of Science

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The Dilemma of Technological Determinism

These thirteen essays explore a crucial historical question that has been notoriously hard to pin down: To what extent, and by what means, does a society's technology determine its political, social, economic, and cultural forms?Karl Marx launched the modern debate on determinism with his provocative remark that "the hand-mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill, society with the industrial capitalist," and a classic article by Robert Heilbroner (reprinted here) renewed the debate within the context of the history of technology.

Case Studies in Science and Technology

How do scientific principles work in the real world? Discovery, Innovation, and Risk presents brief descriptions of selected scientific principles in the context of interesting technological examples to illustrate the complex interplay among science, engineering, and society. An understanding of scientific principles is developed through the technology rather than in isolation from it.

In this insightful and incisive essay, Eugene Ferguson demonstrates that good engineering is as much a matter of intuition and nonverbal thinking as of equations and computation. He argues that a system of engineering education that ignores nonverbal thinking will produce engineers who are dangerously ignorant of the many ways in which the real world differs from the mathematical models constructed in academic minds.

Ideas and Idealism in the Development of Technology

From cathedrals to star wars, Arnold Pacey looks at the interaction of technologies and society over the last thousand years and uses that survey to argue for a more humane form of future technological development. The second edition of The Maze of Ingenuity concentrates on Europe and North America and incorporates recent insights from the history and sociology of technology. A new series of chapters extends Pacey's discussion of the role of ideas and ideals in technology in the period since the industrial revolution.

Social Meanings of a New Technology, 1880-1940

How did electricity enter everyday life in America? Using Muncie, Indiana—the Lynds' now iconic Middletown—as a touchstone, David Nye explores how electricity seeped into and redefined American culture. With an eye for telling details from archival sources and a broad understanding of cultural and social history, he creates a thought-provoking panorama of a technology fundamental to modern life.

A History of Individuals and Ideas

The succinct, nontechnical essays in Technology in America cover the history of American invention from Thomas Jefferson's founding of the Patent Office to Robert Goddards space-age rockets. Each treats an individual and a concept, highlighting the important role technological change has played in the evolution of American culture. The major themes include the effects of technology transfer, the development of the American system of manufacturing, the institutionalization of knowledge and scientific research, and technology as it social process.

New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology

The impact of technology on society is clear and unmistakable. The influence of society on technology is more subtle. The 13 essays in this book draw on a wide array of case studies from cooking stoves to missile systems, from 15th­century Portugal to today's AI labs - to outline an original research program based on a synthesis of ideas from the social studies of science and the history of technology. Together they affirm the need for a study of technology that gives equal weight to technical, social, economic, and political questions.

The Culture of Technology examines our often conflicting attitudes toward nuclear weapons, biological technologies, pollution, Third World development, automation, social medicine, and industrial decline. It disputes the common idea that technology is "value-free" and shows that its development and use are conditioned by many factors-political and cultural as well as economic and scientific. Many examples from a variety of cultures are presented.

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