[OPE-L] Hessen-Grossman Thesis (Gideon Freudenthal)

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Thu Jan 19 2006 - 02:42:53 EST

Freudenthal, Gideon "The Hessen-Grossman Thesis: An Attempt at Rehabilitation"
Perspectives on Science - Volume 13, Number 2, Summer 2005, pp. 166-193
The MIT Press

The work of Boris Hessen and Henryk Grossman on the emergence of
early modern science is an attempt at a historical sociology of
science and a historical epistemology of scientific knowledge. One of
their theses is elaborated here, namely that early modern mechanics
developed in the study of contemporary technology. In particular I
discuss the thesis that the replacement of the Aristotelian concept
of motion by the modern general and mathematical concept developed in
the study of transmission machines. In addition to a discussion of
the thesis and its implications, I also present a case study to
substantiate the thesis. I show that Benedetti's famous refutation of
Aristotle and his introduction of a new concept of motion depended on
empirical knowledge of the newly invented treadle mechanism. I argue
that although the historiography of science since the 1930s has
explored many of the individual issues first raised by the Marxist
historians of science, this perspective remains unique in that it
establishes direct and informative connections between the grand
narrative of the transition from agrarian-feudal society to
industrial production in early capitalism and the development of
science and technology down to specific cognitive issues such as
shared assumptions concerning the natural order.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Jan 20 2006 - 00:00:02 EST