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Technology in the Renaissance and Early Modern Period

I. Science and Technology in the Renaissance

- Texts and works that were lost at one point were now refound - European scholars were now studying those texts that got translated into Arabic during the dark ages - The works of Plato etc become popular, not so much Aristotle anymore - “rebirth”; interest in newly recovered classical texts – humanists - travel, adventure and navigation - increased use of military technology results requires lots of money: increased taxation, wealth - leads to formation of new nation-states that can afford to engage in such enterprises (i.e. France emerges as state in 15th century) - costs associated with producing technologies (i.e. gunpowder), building and maintaining armies - many texts recovered after fall of Constantinople to Turkish army in 1453; transferred to Italy and retranslated - Catholic church challenged with Protestant Reformation; increased role of patronage and royal courts - Higher status for role of engineer - change in values: knowledge for wealth, power and status over standard theological considerations and attaining salvation turning point in the story of technology - changes in attitudes toward natural philosophy and technical arts, and change in relationship between science and technology - natural philosophers: justify search for knowledge on utilitarian and not just theological reasoning; this signals a changing relationship between science and technology - another important development was creation of linear (geometrical) perspective: three dimensional images onto two dimensional canvas is new method of drawing and painting images - Leon Alberti (1404-1472) known as “father of perspective”: while he did not invent linear perspective, did help to perfect the art by providing a structured theory for artists learning the technique - Changing attitudes: - Natural philosophy had been about the search of knowledge for knowledge sake - Never used the knowledge gained - Started w Aristotle and Plato and continued through medieval but this changes in Renaissance - Now people saw that natural philo has a value in being used practically - During the Renaissance, people saw that studying the natural world could get you somewhere - Moving away from idea of knowledge for knowledge sake - Studying world for status, wealth, fame, power - Change because there is a transition to modern day scientific practices - Over time, natural philo will become far more mathematical - Increased reliance on maths to understand world - Natural philosophers will begin to value the benefit of experimentation, which wasn’t seen in the past - Aristotle had suggested that experimenting in nature was a bad thing, a manipulation of nature which leads to a poor understanding around you - Changes in attitudes toward technology

II. Technology, Patronage and the Royal Courts

- While royal courts all over Europe (i.e. France, Spain, England) supported and sponsored many technological enterprises, nowhere was this more evident than in Italy - Medici family dynasty in Italy in the 15th and 16th centuries sponsored many technical projects - Did not do so for commercial or industrial reasons; technical projects revolved around warfare, city-building, entertainment and “showing off” power and wealth - status of engineers in these courts increases with new political and military projects - Court patronage necessary for “Renaissance men” like Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo Galilei; courts provided vast resources, access to figures in power - New technique in the world of art, introduced by Leon Alberti, called linear perspective - Brought depth and perspective to drawings - Prior to this period, buildings were not drawn according to depth - People were drawn according to their status - Depth signals a huge change to peoples attitudes toward technology - Drawings of technology started using linear perspective, tech drawings blossomed - More interesting to look at - For the first time, peoples imaginations are opened up with the advanced images of invention - Technology and science are moving closely together…slowly - 3 reasons why we recognize this change: - -> Increased use of instruments and tools in scientific practices (experiments): more technology being used in scientific practices i.e. telescope, microscope - -> Social Spaces: places where people of different disciplines come together, talk and share knowledge i.e. pubs, coffee houses which first started during this area, salon - -> Hybrid Human: someone with interest in both science and technology

A. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

- little is known about da Vinci’s early life - illegitimate son, raised by grandparents - at age of 14 he began ten year apprenticeship with Andrea del Verrocchio who was sculptor and painter - learned about mathematics, architecture, painting, sculpture; during his time with Verrocchio helped with construction of Florence cathedral - Da Vinci had perfected technique of three dimensional drawing: used this skill to recreate and produce images of many technical machines in his notebooks and was greatly influenced by Alberti - Da Vinci established his own career by accepting an assignment from the Medici family; worked as engineer for powerful Sforza family for ten years - Highlighted importance of his engineering designs for both military and civilian purposes but emphasized the importance of his designs for war - Notebooks have many images of gunpowder weapons, firearms, crossbows, cannons, bridges, chariots with rotating daggers, etc… - Re-creations versus new inventions like submarines and airplanes (i.e. “technological dreams”) - Da Vinci also created many new mechanisms for courtly entertainment; had fascination for “automata” - After Sforza family is ousted by French in 1499; traveled Italy and worked as military engineer for hire - At beginning of 16th century da Vinci returns to Florence and works on several projects; at this time also begins anatomical studies - Eventually returns to Rome and accepts patronage of Medici family until death of Giuliano de Medici - Last years of life spent in French royal court doing painting, engineering, architecture, philosophy - As both an engineer and natural philosopher, da Vinci represents new type of individual who was familiar with both fields of study - Investigation of scientific problems via experimentation

B. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

- professor at Padua university, had wide range of interests - relied heavily on court patronage of Medici family - skilled rhetorician; wanted to influence public opinion - interest in experiment, observation, measurement and design - created and built own telescope (original inventor of telephone an unknown Dutchman) - used his telescope in support of the Copernican system which was the idea that the sun was at the center of the universe - prior to this, common belief was that the earth was at the center of the universe - Galileo also used telescope to gain prestige: named his discover of Jupiter’s moons after his patrons, the Medici family so that they would support him - It worked! Galileo becomes very important figure in Medici court; gains lots of status and prestige - gave away telescopes to wealthy and powerful individuals that would support cause; not to those that necessarily supported ideas (i.e. Kepler) - important to understand observations not indisputable truth - problems with telescope: how to confirm what Galileo was seeing - difficulties interpreting observations; vision problems, accusations of trickery - still, use of telescope one example of growing relationship between science and technology via the use of new instruments

III. The Printing Press

- Johannes Gutenberg (c.1397-1468) - Printing press technology based on wooden press, moveable type characters made of metal, paper, oil-based ink - moveable type printing and paper introduced into Europe from China; paper was being made in Europe by 1189 - while most parts invented in China; however, many social, cultural and economic factors prevent the art of printing for publication: pictographic type of language; threat to scribes who had monopoly on writing - in contrast, European scribes few and costly; Gutenberg only needs 24 letters (no “j” or “u”) - first publication was Gutenberg Bible in 1450 - printing of indulgences help finance Church - printing meant more access because they became cheaper to reproduce - an idea of openness comes along - changes how people gather info - spread of scientific and technical innovation - openness: new open world of knowledge, more exposure - accessibility : access to texts you couldn’t reach before -

IV. Debating the Impact of the Printing Press on Society

- The advent of the printing press led to a greater demand for books and other printed materials - between 1450-1500, 8M books sold in Europe - price of books also reduced: for triple the cost, a printer could produce thousands of copies as compared to a scribe who could produce only one - According to historian Elizabeth Eisenstein, the printing press brought about new era of “openness” and “accessibility” in science and technological information because:

a. more information made available to larger audience b. rapid dissemination of information c. books decrease in price; more people can afford to own them and literacy rises d. tables and indexes allow reader greater control over reading material e. allows for comparing and contrasting similar texts f. this helps establish authority of natural philosophical texts (definitive and correct versions) g. illustrations more accurate; errors eliminated from traditional copying procedures h. printing and the spread of the Protestant Reformation (i.e. from 1517-20 almost 300000 copies of Martin Luther’s writings were sold)

A. The Printing Press and the Spread of Scientific Information

- Eisenstein: before printing press, scholars rarely questioned textual information; most of their time taken up with preserving, transmitting texts - With shift from script to print, scholars could spend more time reading and building upon older theories of knowledge rather than copying and memorizing texts - Opportunity to generate more knowledge than ever before - Scholars also had ability to compare and contrast a wide range of texts that were similar to those of their colleagues in other regions of the world; increased confidence in reliability of texts - Eisenstein argues that print changed nature of authorship: people realized their work would be recognized and preserved if made public - Example: Copernicus was able to come up with his heliocentric theory because he was freed from laborious tasks like copying tables and charts and thus had more time for reflecting; he was also supplied with more treatises, records and public tools - Impact of print on pictorial information: Eisenstein also contends that print changed way illustrations used and interpreted in science - Prior to print, difficult to reproduce pictures; images would become distorted over long periods of time - With print, illustrations could become standardized and used to augment scientific information - Eisenstein makes several good points: print did open up networks of feedback between scholars that had not been there before - Authors had wider audience than they ever had been exposed to - Many new printing houses provided readers with incentives to provide new knowledge - Rapid expansion of information to public allowed for some improvements in subsequent editions of book after readers able to give their input (especially true for reference collections, geographical books, etc…) - In terms of navigation, this was especially important in terms of maps, which needed to be accurate; more accurate geographical knowledge comes with this increased information sharing - Scholars were freed up from mundane actions and could now engage in the process of actually thinking about things - Confidence with printing means there is more eagerness to publish - This would be for money, power, status, etc. -

B. Criticisms of Eisenstein’s Thesis, Part 1

- Very technological deterministic way of examining effects of print - Eisenstein places too much emphasis on preservative powers of print - For example, chooses wrong example of Copernicus - her idea that the Copernican Revolution brought about by print neglects to consider that Copernicus was reluctant to publish his own work, very few people initially read Copernicus’ work, it was in limited circulation, and for many years following its release Copernicus’ ideas were dismissed by most natural philosophers - Historian Adrian Johns: Eisenstein also errs in assuming all printed works were alike, and that new editions were “fixed” in terms of text, format, appearance - Most printed books were initially take from scribal texts; errors present in these scribal texts would have been then transferred to print and would not have been “eliminated” right away - Piracy and plagiarism were also rampant in print culture - To combat problem, many social conventions established to verify authenticity and truthfulness of print materials - Example: establishment of Stationers Hall, stationers’ registrar, licensing privileges, royal patronage - Thus idea of print helping to establish new “truths” not necessarily true; legitimacy of printed works done through such “social” solutions - In terms of pictures, historian Bert Hall also argues that early on, some scribal pictures were in fact more accurate than printed works; cannot make such broad generalizations - Her ideas are technologically deterministic

C. The Printing Press and the Spread of Technical Information

- Eisenstein: print played large role in transmission of technical materials - print helped “open up” the closed and secretive world of medieval craft knowledge by providing new incentives for people to publish their findings (i.e. authorship, intellectual property rights) - Good points: Historian Bert Hall suggests that the increased amount of technical literature made available to individuals helped alter public attitudes towards technology - print thus increased amount of technical literature made available to public, and helped change public attitudes towards technology as authors were forced to write for audience that might not have much knowledge about a particular subject - Shift from script to print also saw technical arts being increasingly justified from theological point of view - Technical arts are defended as “God’s gift” to humans and are seen as way of imitating God’s act of creation - Technical images also helped increase status of technical arts

D. Criticisms of Eisenstein’s Thesis, Part 2

- Historian Pamela Long: Eisenstein goes too far in arguing that print was the primary factor in beginning a new era of openness in technical arts - While print did increase number of technical treatises in circulation, many of the technical treatises written before print were already “opening up” so called closed world of knowledge - Authors had already begun writing about technical arts in hopes of gaining royal patronage, investors, financial rewards - Long also argues idea of giving credit for authorship started with Romans; not with print

V. Changing Attitudes towards Nature and Technology during the Early Modern Period

A. Nature as a Living Organism

- prevailing view of nature up until the 1500s - nature seen as living organism - central to this idea: nature (earth) is compared to nurturing mother - Carolyn Merchant: nature seen as “kindly, beneficent female who provided for needs of mankind in an ordered, planned universe” - at same time, nature also regarded as wild and at times uncontrollable; something that could cause destruction and chaos - here, nature is something to be respected, revered and awed - idea that earth is “alive” deters people from disrespecting it

B. Francis Bacon and Ideas of “Dominating” Nature through Technology

- one person that best exemplifies changing attitudes towards nature and technology during Enlightenment period is Francis Bacon (1561-1626) - trained as lawyer; political advisor to Elizabeth I - Lord Chancellor for James I - Bacon is not a natural philosopher but scientific reformer - believes that scientific knowledge extremely powerful; wants to put it to practical use in service of state - knowledge in service of Christian purposes - natural philosophy must be productive: “truth and usefulness are (in this kind) the very same things” - rejects idea of knowledge for its own sake - has great respect for craft knowledge and criticizes scholars like Aristotle who were contemptuous of that knowledge - believed that domination of nature would benefit mankind - anti-feminist attitudes present in his work (this is still being debated amongst scholars) - considered fall from Garden of Eden cause of man’s loss of “dominion over creation” - recovery of knowledge by exploiting nature with mechanical technologies would reverse this - described natural world in feminine terms (i.e. mother nature) that has three states: liberty, error, and bondage - nature’s secrets are to be extracted for economic production - presents idea that nature should be “tortured” through mechanical invention to discover her secrets - submissive nature versus active nature - nature should be “bound into service” and “made a slave” by the mechanical arts - idea of interrogating nature may have come from courtroom experiences - links with witch trials - sexual implications of language evident: “neither ought a man to make scruple of entering and penetrating into these holes and corners, when the inquisition of truth is his whole object” - Historians like Lynn White have argued that this idea of man being superior over nature (found in Judaic-Christian religious thought) are at the root of today’s modern day ecological crisis

VI. The Dutch Republic, Technology and the Rise of Commerce

- Thomas Misa reading (Chapter 2) - era of courts on decline by 1600; begin to see rise of commerce - important to distinguish age of commerce from age of industrialization, especially within Dutch Republic - technological innovation in Dutch Republic was based on producing high quality goods at a low volume; workers paid high wages - in contrast, industrial era (industrialization) characterized by production of high volume, low quality goods; wages lower - which occurs in 18th century - shipping and trading, imports and exports - main centers: Antwerp, Amsterdam, London; however, focus will be on activities in Dutch Republic - Dutch Republic in the 17th century became a center for trade - Society characterized by religious tolerance (Protestant Reformation) - Misa: “the Dutch Republic shaped technologies in pursuit of commerce and…commercial technologies shaped their culture” - Dutch engaged in trade and development of new technologies for commerce - Society did not have access to raw materials like wood and had no colonies; instead, engaged in practice of trade, import and export - They would import cheap products (or raw materials), refine them, and then sell them for a higher price - Examples: salt and sugar refining, soap boiling, tobacco processing, dye processing, diamond refinement - Export oriented agriculture - Dutch specialized in ship designs for trade; by 1660’s ¾ of trade ships were Dutch (out of 20000) - These ships designed for export and trade; i.e. herring busses - Fluyt: built with maximum cargo space, not heavily armed, minimal crew - Dutch could do this because their trade routes were in peaceful waters of Northern Europe as opposed to Mediterranean or Atlantic Oceans - Society developed around this international trading economy - Multiple shares would be sold to finance ships - Commodity exchanges, public exchange banks, stock exchange - What distinguished Dutch commerce from other commercial centers was that it was world wide: for example, by 1634 Amsterdam exchange sets world prices for 359 commodities - Amsterdam Wisselbank created in 1609: provided low interests that facilitated trade - Dutch also heavily engage in futures speculation where trick is to buy low and sell high (Tulip example) - Various trade cartels formed to keep hold on trade: United East India Co. established in 1602: supported by state, engaged in trading stocks - Cartel formed to try and break Spanish and Portuguese monopoly on importing spices - Misa: If Dutch Republic had such a well developed commercial society, why did it not become first industrial nation? - Raw materials (lack of coal); international trade disruptions, decline of traffic industries (constant invasions, protectionist policies, etc…)

Science & tech religion environment

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...Technology is scientific developments that aid in problem solving and extend human capabilities. Its purpose is to help mankind, but often it has a negative effect. Guns were developed as a tool to protect oneself by killing the enemy. However, they?re often used for murder and on innocent people. Many more people die from the gun than are protected by it. Is the gun something that is harming the human race? Many argue that it is ?people who kill people?, not guns. Even if there weren?t guns, people would kill each other with different means. Although, the invention of something decidedly a weapon cannot be viewed as positive. Leaps and bounds have been made in the medicinal area of technology. Inventions of differing medicines and drugs have promoted the health of millions of people and even saved many of our lives. We no longer fear that influenza will be the death of us, nor any epidemics like the bubonic plague. This does not include third-world countries, which have been neglected and left behind. Not to mention that not all drugs turned out to be good. Many have horrible side effects and have been labeled ?bad? such as marijuana, cocaine, and LSD. Thousands of people are hooked to the stuff in ever downward-spiraling addictions. The internet is a wonderful communication network that connects the world and gives anyone access to billions of faucets of information anytime! With no effort at all you can talk to someone on the other side of the globe or buy something quite...

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...Recent advancements in technology have changed our lives significantly. Most noticeably, they facilitate our living, as evidenced by more effectiveness, efficiency, convenience, and ease which result from their proper application. With the aid of recent advanced technologies, difficult tasks can be accomplished in less time with less effort and energy than they were in the past. However, some people are concerned that the convenience and ease that recent advanced technologies offer affect our humanity. Since technology can facilitate almost all our activities, many people depend more on it than on other people. For example, in big cities, real intimate interpersonal relationship seldom takes place because people devote their time, attention, and money more to their computers, smartphones, and the like, than to social activities with other people. Also in big cities, many children and youths prefer playing videogames solitarily to socializing or doing exercises with their friends. We have to admit that in our modern era, technology is indispensable as well as unavoidable. By nature, everyone wants to live an easy, comfortable, and enjoyable life. Technology can help us create such a life. However, too much dependence on technology can impair our sense of humanity and prevent us from living a healthy, balanced life, just as evidenced by some people’s addiction to the latest products of telecommunication technologies which makes them neglect their families and social life...

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