Philosophies of Technology: Francis Bacon and his Contemporaries (set 2 volumes)


The essays in the present volume attempt to historically reconstruct the various dependencies of philosophical and scientific knowledge of the material and technical culture of the early modern era and to draw systematic conclusions for the writing of early modern history of science. The divisive transformation of humanist scholarly culture, the Scholastic school philosophy, as well as magic in the form of a philosophy of practice is always associated with the work of Francis Bacon. All of these essays in this volume reflect the close interaction between technical models and knowledge production in natural philosophy, natural history and epistemology. It becomes clear that the technological developments of the early modern era cannot be adequately depicted in the form of a pure history of technology but rather only as part of a broader, cultural history of the sciences.

Contributors include: Todd Andrew Borlik, Arianna Borrelli, Thomas Brandstetter, Daniel Damler, Luisa Dolza, Moritz Epple, Berthold Heinecke, Dana Jalobeanu, Jürgen Klein, Staffan Müller-Wille, Romano Nanni, Jarmo Pulkkinen, Pablo Schneider, Andrés Vaccari, Benjamin Wardhaugh, Sophie Weeks, and Claus Zittel.
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Biographical Note

Claus Zittel, Kunsthistorisches Institut/Max Planck Institut in Florence, teaches Philosophy and German Literature at the Universities of Frankfurt am Main and Olsztyn in Poland.
Gisela Engel, Ph.D. in English Philology (1973) is Senior Lecturer at Frankfurt University. She has edited extensively in the field of Early Modern Studies.
Romano Nanni is Director of the Biblioteca Leonardiana at Vinci (Italy). He has published extensively on Leonardo´s oeuvre and early modern technology.
Nicole Karafyllis is a biologist and a philosopher. She has published extensively on the ethics of technology and on the technology assessment of renewable resources.

Review Quote

"[...] an excellent resource for research libraries catering to philosophers or historians. [...] Highly recommended”
Choice, Vol. 46, No. 10 (June 2009).

The chapter by Sophie Weeks on Francis Bacon and his ‘method’ is "the most [...] accomplished piece on Bacon that I have read in years, and it deserves to be widely noticed". [...] Arianna Borrelli's chapter on the Dutch weatherglass is "likely to become a standard reference on the subject". Peter Dear, Cornell University. In: The British Journal for the History of Science , Vol. 42, No. 4 (2009).

Table of contents

Notes on Authors
List of Illustrations

Introduction, Claus Zittel

Part I. Beginnings

1. “Industrious Observations, Grounded Conclusions, and Profitable Inventions and Discoveries; the Best State of That Province”: Technology and Culture during Francis Bacon’s Stay in France, Luisa Dolza
2. Francis Bacon’s Scientia Operativa, The Tradition of the Workshops, and The Secrets of Nature, Jürgen Klein
3. Technical Knowledge and the Advancement of Learning: Some Questions about ‘Perfectibility’ and ‘Invention’, Romano Nanni
4. The Weather-Glass and its Observers in the Early Seventeenth Century, Arianna Borrelli

Part II. Bacon: Mechanics, Instruments and Utopias

5. The Role of Mechanics in Francis Bacon’s ‘Great Instauration’, Sophie Weeks
6. Bacon’s Brotherhood and its Classical Sources: Producing and Communicating Knowledge in the Project of Great Instauration, Dana Jalobeanu
7. The Whale under the Microscope: Technology and Objectivity in Two Renaissance Utopias, Todd Andrew Borlik

Part III. Metaphoric Models

8. The Role of Metaphors in William Harvey’s Thought, Jarmo Pulkkinen
9. Legitimating the Machine: The Epistemological Foundation of Technological Metaphor in the Natural Philosophy of René Descartes, Andrés Vaccari
10. Descartes as Bricoleur, Claus Zittel

Part IV. Bacon’s Legacy: The Impact for the Arts and Sciences

11. The Poet and the Philosopher: Francis Bacon and Georg Philipp Harsdörffer, Berthold Heinecke
12. Formal Causes and Mechanical Causes: The Analogy of the Musical Instrument in Late Seventeenth-Century Natural Philosophy, Benjamin Wardhaugh
13. The Modern Wonder and its Enemies: Courtly Innovations in the Spanish Renaissance, Daniel Damler
14. The Gap between Theory and Practice: Hydrodynamical and Hydraulical Utopias in the 18th Century, Moritz Epple
15. Sentimental Hydraulics: Utopia and Technology in 18th-Century France, Thomas Brandstetter
16. History Redoubled: The Synthesis of Facts in Linnaean Natural History, Staffan Müller-Wille
17. Rescue Attempts: Scientific Images and the Mysteries of Power in the Era of Louis XIV, Pablo Schneider

Index Nominum


All those interested in history and philosophy of science and technology in Early Modern Europe, intellectual history, intersections between philosophy, literature, art and science.


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