The Technological Revolution

Notes on the Relationshipof Technology, Science, and Culture

THE STANDARD ANSWER TO THE QUESTION, “What brought about the explosive change in the human condition these last two hundred years?” is “The Progress of Science.” This paper enters a demurrer. It argues that the right answer is more likely: “A fundamental change in the concept of technology.” Central to this was the re-ordering of old technologies into systematic public disciplines with their own conceptual equipment, e.g. the “differential diagnosis” of nineteenth-century medicine. In the century between 1750 and 1850 the three main technologies ...

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