Advertisement

Culture, Technology and Knowledge

Chapter
  • 860 Downloads

We face three interrelated questions. First, is science uniquely the product of post-mediaeval Western Europe? Second, if not, where (and when) else did it arise — and why do we never hear about it? Third, if the naturalistic learning of Classical Greece was not science, how did it come to exert such a profound influence on the emergence of science in Europe 1,800 years or more afterwards? To tackle these questions, we first need to examine: (1) the relationship between knowledge or belief and culture, and (2) the routes by which Classical learning reached late mediaeval Europe.

Ways of knowing in all cultures share common features (sensory experience, memory, generalisation, mastery of skills, search for cause-effect relationships, etc.) because they are all human; but each is also distinctive. By definition, different cultures arise in different environments, each with its particular history. Tropical desert dwellers are unlikely to have knowledge and beliefs about polar bears or snow, but they are likely to know a good deal about sand, dehydration and scorpions. In the modern developed world, a hill farmer has different knowledge and beliefs from, say, a city accountant.

Keywords

Polar Bear Ancient Civilisation Steam Engine Hill Farmer Naturalistic Thought 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Reference

  1. Barnes B (1974) Scientific Knowledge and Sociological Theory. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London.Google Scholar
  2. Barnes B, Shapin S (eds) (1979) Natural Order: Historical Studies of Scientific Culture. Sage, London.Google Scholar
  3. Basalla G (1988) The Evolution of Technology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  4. Ben-David J, Clark TN (eds) (1977) Culture and Its Creators. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.Google Scholar
  5. Bloor D (1976) Knowledge and Social Imagery. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London.Google Scholar
  6. Cole M, Scribner S (1974) Culture and Thought. Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  7. Dunbar R, Knight C, Power C (eds) (1999) The Evolution of Culture. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh. Fehl NE (1965) Science and Culture. Chu Ching, Hong Kong.Google Scholar
  8. Forbes RJ (1955–64) Studies in Ancient Technology (9 volumes). Brill, Leiden.Google Scholar
  9. Gellner E (1974) Legitimation of Belief. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  10. Hawkes J (1973) The First Great Civilizations: Life in Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and Egypt. Knopf, New York.Google Scholar
  11. Jarvie IC (1972) Concepts and Society. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London.Google Scholar
  12. Mulkay M (1985) The Word and the World. Allen & Unwin, London.Google Scholar
  13. Resnikoff HL, Wells RO (1973) Mathematics and Civilization. Holt, Reinhart & Winston, New York.Google Scholar
  14. Rose HA, Rose SPR (1976) The Political Economy of Science. Macmillan, London.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

Personalised recommendations