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Human-Built World: How to Think about Technology and Culture (Science.Culture)

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Human-Built World: How to Think about Technology and Culture (Science.Culture) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

To most people, technology has been reduced to computers, consumer goods, and military weapons; we speak of "technological progress" in terms of RAM and CD-ROMs and the flatness of our television screens. In Human-Built World, thankfully, Thomas Hughes restores to technology the conceptual richness and depth it deserves by chronicling the ideas about technology expressed by influential Western thinkers who not only understood its multifaceted character but who also explored its creative potential.

Hughes draws on an enormous range of literature, art, and architecture to explore what technology has brought to society and culture, and to explain how we might begin to develop an "ecotechnology" that works with, not against, ecological systems. From the "Creator" model of development of the sixteenth century to the "big science" of the 1940s and 1950s to the architecture of Frank Gehry, Hughes nimbly charts the myriad ways that technology has been woven into the social and cultural fabric of different eras and the promises and problems it has offered. Thomas Jefferson, for instance, optimistically hoped that technology could be combined with nature to create an Edenic environment; Lewis Mumford, two centuries later, warned of the increasing mechanization of American life.

Such divergent views, Hughes shows, have existed side by side, demonstrating the fundamental idea that "in its variety, technology is full of contradictions, laden with human folly, saved by occasional benign deeds, and rich with unintended consequences." In Human-Built World, he offers the highly engaging history of these contradictions, follies, and consequences, a history that resurrects technology, rightfully, as more than gadgetry; it is in fact no less than an embodiment of human values.

Synopsis:

A Pulitzer Prize-nominated science writer draws on literature, art, and architecture to explore what technology has brought to society and culture, and to explain how technology can work with, not against, ecological concerns.

About the Author

Thomas P. Hughes (1923-2014) was the Mellon Professor Emeritus in the Department of the History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and a member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Hughes received honorary doctorates from Northwestern University and the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology, and was a member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Engineering Sciences and the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. He was the author or editor of eleven books, including American Genesis: A Century of Invention and Technological Enthusiasm, 1870-1970, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

1. Introduction: Complex Technology

2. Technology and the Second Creation

3. Technology as Machine

4. Technology as Systems, Controls, and Information

5. Technology and Culture

6. Creating an Ecotechnological Environment

Bibliographic Essay

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780226359335
Author:
Hughes, Thomas Parke
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Author:
Hughes, Thomas P.
Location:
Chicago
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Social aspects
Subject:
Technology
Subject:
Aspects
Subject:
Technology -- United States.
Subject:
Technology -- Social aspects -- United States.
Subject:
Science Reference-Technology
Copyright:
Edition Description:
1
Series:
Science.Culture
Series Volume:
3133
Publication Date:
20040731
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
42 halftones
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
8 x 5.25 in

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Related Subjects


Reference » Science Reference » Philosophy of Science
Reference » Science Reference » Technology
Science and Mathematics » Botany » General
Science and Mathematics » Physics » General

Human-Built World: How to Think about Technology and Culture (Science.Culture) New Hardcover
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Product details 240 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226359335 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A Pulitzer Prize-nominated science writer draws on literature, art, and architecture to explore what technology has brought to society and culture, and to explain how technology can work with, not against, ecological concerns.
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