Problems and pitfalls in the history of technology
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Problems and Pitfalls in the History of Technology . Incomplete Record. Tendency to ignore the mundane Elitism, disdain for manual work Secrecy and isolation Destruction of documents Destruction of artifacts Uncertain dates, identification of persons, unclear descriptions.

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Presentation Transcript

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Incomplete Record

  • Tendency to ignore the mundane

  • Elitism, disdain for manual work

  • Secrecy and isolation

  • Destruction of documents

  • Destruction of artifacts

  • Uncertain dates, identification of persons, unclear descriptions


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Uncertain Interpretation of Artifacts

  • Many Artifacts are of Unknown Purpose

  • Purpose--may or may not have been practical

  • How made? One way to answer is to reproduce it using ancient methods


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Fallacies of Reasoning

  • Oversimplification

  • Determinism, linear view of history.

    • “You can’t stop progress”

    • The “Voltairean Fallacy”

    • “You can’t turn back the clock”

  • Post Hoc ergo Propter Hoc (after this, therefore because of this)


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Oversimplification

  • Real issue is that theory leads to wrong conclusions

  • Validity, not simplicity, is the issue

  • Simplicity does not make an idea wrong



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Fallacies of Reasoning

Ethnocentrism

  • We are superior to others

    Reverse ethnocentrism

  • We are the source of all evil in the world

    "Chronocentrism”

  • Present-day values are superior to those of the past

  • Nobody in the past ever made accurate observations




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