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HST 701 Lecture Notes - Natural Philosophy, Socioeconomic Status, Technological Determinism

Course Code
HST 701
Vera Pavri

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Assume that there is close relation between science and technology
- Throughout most of history, science and tech not really related
- Different statuses
- Up and until 19th century, technology was not considered to be equal of science
- Technology was considered inferior (artisans, engineers, craftspeople found to be inferior than
natural philosophers)
Aristotle and Plato were first to make distinction between technology and natural philosophy
- They were first to make technology inferior
- Socio/economic status was key to this classification
- Natural philosophers were rich, had money to just sit around and explore the world
- Craftsman/artisans were of lower class (had to work to make a living)
- Natural philopshy was considered study of universal knowledge (general laws/theories of world
around us)
- Technical knowledge was more subject specific to items themselves
- Despite the great creations of crafts peoples, they were unable to explain WHY objects worked
(made them look less superior)
In the Middle Ages
- Natural philosophy was still seen as superior
- Hue of St. Victor was first to say that technology was as valuable as natural philosophy
- People are beginning to see natural philosophy and technological arts as ways to gain fame and
- Started seeing connection between Natural philosophy and technological arts
- 3 things that
o Increased use of instruments in natural philosophy
Increase in experimentation (disputing Arisotle’s influence)
Natural philosopher’s saw experimentation as better way to understand the
world around them
o Social spaces
Places were different disciplines could come together and share ideas
Coffee houses, pubs, salons
Greater interaction between engineers/craftsman and natural philosophers
o Hybrid Humans
More people started to study both disciplines
Examples include Galileo and Da Vinci
Early to Mid 1800s
- Science and technology will grow most by mid 19th century
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