Empirical method lecture

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Prof. MacDonald
Development of the Empirical Method
introduction to York 2009: opens with event on July 16, 1945
1st test of nuclear bomb on Hiroshima
eventually brought WWII to an end
reading talks about scientist who designed the bomb. When he had seen what that
destruction was done, he said “I have become death, the destructor of the world”.
in talking about the destruction of the environment there is nothing more powerful than the
nuclear weapon
we have a future of humans dominating nature to the point where we can manipulate nature
like the natural world did millions of years ago
The machine
technology defined as the physical use of the machine
distinction between applied knowledge (which can be used to create more machines) vs
theoretical knowledge (that builds the machine)
The Manhattan Project (1940 - 1941): with theoretical knowledge there was a fear that they
could develop a deadly weapon
contrast between the Manhattan Projects organizational capacity (it did not result from one
sole human being) with Newtons study doing experiments w/the retraction of life all by
our knowledge stems from our organizational capacity
Agricultural revolution
Transition in Europe from feudalism to the modern world
The scientific revolution
The industrial revolution - coming after the development of the empirical method (mid 1600s)
but its not really caused by the scientific revolution
technology may have actually caused the scientific revolution by the development of machinery
- technology as a causal element
it is later (1945 nuclear bomb test) when we have theoretical science: knowledge turned into
it helps to keep the distinction between scientific vs industrial revolution as the picture out of
the lecture is one of intermixing of these two to produce the current state of affairs
Scientific revolution - what is the empirical method?
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