Lost Knowledge: The Concept of Vanished Technologies and Other Human Histories examines the idea of lost knowledge, reaching back to a period between myth and history. It investigates a peculiar idea found in a number of early texts: that there were civilizations with knowledge of sophisticated technologies, and that this knowledge was obscured or destroyed over time along with the civilization that had created it. This book presents critical studies of a series of early Chinese, South Asian, and other texts that look at the idea of specific “lost” technologies, such as mechanical flight and the transmission of images. There is also an examination of why concepts of a vanished “golden age” were prevalent in so many cultures. Offering an engaging and investigative look at the propagation of history and myth in technology and culture, this book is sure to interest historians and readers from many backgrounds.
Benjamin B. Olshin is a Professor of Philosophy, the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, and Design at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He has written in a broad range of areas, including the history of cartography, the sociology of technology, the philosophy of science, and design.
Table of contents
Preface Acknowledgements List of Figures
Speculations and Fantasies
Ancient Tales of Flying Machines
Magic Mirrors and Early Televisions
The Missing Land of Atlantis
Rings and Dangerous Powers
The Nature, Encoding, and Transmission of Knowledge
Conclusions — What Did They Mean? Bibliography Index
All those interested in history, history of science and technology, Classical languages and literature, East Asian studies, folktales, myth, and cultural studies.