Minerva Meets Vulcan: Scientific and Technological Literature - 1450-1750

Minerva Meets Vulcan: Scientific and Technological Literature - 1450-1750

Archimedes, Band 60

von: Wolfgang Lefèvre

96,29 €

Verlag: Springer
Format: PDF
Veröffentl.: 16.06.2021
ISBN/EAN: 9783030730857
Sprache: englisch

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This book offers a comprehensive study and account of the co-evolution of technological and scientific literature in the early modern period (1450-1750). It examines the various relationships of these literatures in six areas of knowledge – Architecture, Chemistry, Gunnery, Mechanical Engineering, Mining, and Practical Mathematics – which represent the main types of advanced technological and scientific knowledge of the era. These six fields of technologically advanced knowledge and their interrelations and interactions with learned knowledge are investigated and discussed through a specific lens: by focusing on the technological literature.
Among present-day historians of science, it hardly remains controversial that contact and exchange between educated and practical knowledge played a significant role in the development of the natural sciences and technology in early modern Europe. Several paths for such exchange arose from the late Middle Ages onward due to the formation of an economy of knowledge that fostered contacts and exchange between the two worlds. How can this development be adequately described and how, on the basis of such a description, can the significance of this process for the early modern history of knowledge in the West be assessed? These are the overarching questions this book tries to answer.

There exists a considerable amount of literature concerning several stations and events in the course of this long development process as well as its various aspects. As meritorious and indispensable as many of these studies are, none of them tried to portray this process as a whole with its most essential branches. What is more, many of them implicitly or explicitly took physics as a model of science, and thus highlighted mechanics and mechanical engineering as the model of all interrelations of practical and learned knowledge. By contrast, this book aims at a more complete portrait of the early modern interrelations and interactions between learned and practical knowledge. It tries to convey a new idea of the variety and disunity of these relations by discussing and comparing altogether six widely different fields of knowledge and practice.

The targeted audience of this book is first of all the historians of science and technology. As one of the peer reviewers suggested – the book could very well become a textbook used for teaching the history of science and technology at universities. Furthermore, since the book addresses fundamental aspects of the significance emergence and development of modern science has for the self-image of the West, it can be expected that it will attract the attention and interest of a wider readership than professional historians.



1                     Science and Technology

2                     Practical and Learned Knowledge in the Early Modern Period

3                     The Book’s Questions and Approach

Chapter I – Architecture                                                                                                               

1            Science of Architecture

2            Crafts and Codification of Knowledge

3            Design I – Buildings Types and their Decoration

4            Design II – Measures and Rules

5            Design III – Perspective Drawings and Orthogonal Plans

6            Constructive Geometry, Stereotomy and Descriptive Geometry

7            Construction and Statics

8            Conclusion

Chapter II – Chemistry                                                                                                                  

1                     Literature on Chemistry before 1600

2                     Literature on Distilling

3                     Literature on Assaying and Smelting

4                     The Emergence of Chemical Technology

5                     Terms and Concepts

6                     Technology and Theory

7                     Unnoticed Shifts in Technology

8                     Irritating Processes and New Understandings

9                     A New Theory

10                 Conclusion

Chapter III – Gunnery                                                                                                                    

1                     Warfare in Illuminated Manuscripts

2                     Gunners’ Manuscripts (Büchsenmeisterbücher)

3                     Excursus: Manufacturing Guns

4                     Sixteenth-Century Gunners’ Manuals and Treatises on Gunnery

5                     Tartaglia

6                     External Ballistics from Tartaglia to Galileo

7                     Experimental Ballistics

8                     Conclusion

Chapter IV – Mechanical Engineering                                                                       

1                     Pictorial Documents: Technological Literature?

2                     The Age of Illuminated Manuscripts

3                     The Age of Theaters of Machines

4                     Reasoning on Mechanics

5                     Machine Science and Early Modern Statics: A Mismatch

6                     Measurement of Driving Forces I – Men as Driving Force

7                     Measurement of Driving Forces II –The Beginnings of a Theory of Machines

8                     Conclusion

Chapter V – Mining Science                                                                                                        

1                     Mining Science

2                     Shafts, Galleries, and the Extraction of Minerals

3                     Mining Machinery

4                     Mine Surveying (Markscheiden)

5                     Prospecting Minerals and Rocks

6                     Teaching in Mining Academies

7                     Conclusion

Chapter VI – Practical Mathematics                                                                                         

1                     Practical Mathematical Sciences

2                     Surveying

3                     Excursus: Books on Mathematics for Practitioners

4                     Surveying without Angular Measurement

5                     Angular Measurement I – Astronomy

6                     Angular Measurement II – Navigation and Mathematical Geography

7                     Higher Geodesy

8                     Conclusion


1                    Mechanics

2                    Practical Mathematics

3                    Chemistry

4                    Architecture and Mining

5                    Interrelations and Developments


List of References                                                                                                                           


Picture Credits

Wolfgang Lefèvre is a professor of philosophy and historian of science affiliated with the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Berlin). From 1972 until 1992, he taught philosophy in connection with the history of science at several German universities. His publications include Naturtheorie und Produktionsweise (1978), Die Entstehung der biologischen Evolutionstheorie (1984), (together with Falk Wunderlich:) Kants naturtheoretische Begriffe (1747-1780) (2000), (edited:) Picturing Machines (2004), (together with Marcus Popplow:) Database Machine Drawings (2006), (together with Ursula Klein:) Materials in Eighteenth-Century Science (2007).

Comparative portrait of six main fields of knowledge
Suitable as a textbook
In-depth discussion of historical sources

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