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NATS 1775 (361)
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York University
Natural Science
NATS 1775
Vera Pavri

Reading – PURPOSE  Figure out why you’ve been assigned to read something o Gather for new information o Get further understanding  Ask yourself questions during a reading  Focus on the introductory and concluding sentence  Provide examples in notes  Format notes that are important  Science owes o Steam engine – created with little scientific knowledge, but when invented, more scientific research came OUT of it o Science owes to the steam engine o Technology doesn’t always come out of scientific research  ‘so far’  technoscience – example showing the two ideas interdependent  soft and hard versions of theories o hard tech. determinism = position where someone believes tech shapes society, END OF STORY, NO QUESTIONS ASKED o soft tech. determinism = position puts determinism ahead, but not the SOLE reason of shaping society, open to other perspectives  no object has a sole use, tech has no essence, they have different uses in different societies o therefore, technology does not drive society  social construction of technology (SCOT) Lecture 2 – Technology in Ancient Civilizations Early Civilizations  civilizations rise, become heavily populated and dense due to geographic and social considerations  high levels of education, complex architecture  crucial to recognize that these are societies which will over time resemble social, economic and political hierarchies o become stratified societies  resemble pyramid structure  top – fewest # of people, most power  bottom – high # of people, no power Hydraulic Hypothesis  based in large part on equating the rise of stratified societies, with the relationship to the technological system – THE HYDRAULIC/WATER IRRIGATION SYSTEM  water is highly precious commodity  over time, suggests that controlling water supply becomes issue o societies develop irrigation systems to control supply o when constructed, they BECOME ECONOMIC HIERARCHIES  some societies have too much, too little water – SUPPLY becomes key  link b/n rise of early societies and irrigation hydraulic systems  argue that civilizations are termed ‘irrigation civilizations’ o they share similar characteristics in way they are constructed  PREMISE: development of hydraulic systems, causes societies to become economic hierarchies  EXAMPLE OF DETERMINISM Criticisms of Hydraulic Hypothesis  First criticism - technologically deterministic theory o causation argument – hydraulic systems CAUSED societal changes of economic hierarchies o we need to think that the technology is constructed in the environment o should look at the  Second criticism - some societies were already stratified, before the development of the irrigation systems o likely societies that created these systems to MAINTAIN POWER of hierarchy  Third criticism – some societies developed irrigation systems, but did not develop social, economic hierarchies  Rise of urban civilizations, suggesting rise of hierarchies is a result of water irrigation Early Science and Technology in Ancient Civilizations  Natural philosophy is the ‘grandfather’ of science  Egypt and Mesopotamia – BRONZE AGE (determinist name) o Urban civilizations were masters of bronze metallurgy o Able to use tools and weapons, casting, mining, etc  Increased specialization of labour  Go beyond use of human and animal power o can harness wind power and use wheeled transportation  Mesopotamia o Writing  Signals transition away from basic, oral communication  Development of new occupation – scribes, etc – example of specialization o Mathematics  Base 60 system, used today in measuring time  place value system – hundreds, tens, ones, o Astronomy  Able to observe with naked eye, limited technological equipment  Knowledgeable about solstices, equinoxes, sun and moon cycles, eclipses, etc  Passed down to the Greek world o Engineering and architecture o Astrology  Regarded as legitimate discipline, practiced by biggested astronomers  Egypt o Pyramids built in Giza, very short time period  Great Pyramid – 2.3 million blocks  Built by labouring f
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