The Artificial and the Natural: An Evolving Polarity

The Artificial and the Natural: An Evolving Polarity

by Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent
     
 

ISBN-10: 0262026201

ISBN-13: 9780262026208

Pub. Date: 10/31/2007

Publisher: MIT Press

Genetically modified food, art in the form of a phosphorescent rabbit implanted with jellyfish DNA, and robots that simulate human emotion would seem to be evidence for the blurring boundary between the natural and the artificial. Yet because the deeply rooted concept of nature functions as a cultural value, a social norm, and a moral authority, we cannot simply

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Overview

Genetically modified food, art in the form of a phosphorescent rabbit implanted with jellyfish DNA, and robots that simulate human emotion would seem to be evidence for the blurring boundary between the natural and the artificial. Yet because the deeply rooted concept of nature functions as a cultural value, a social norm, and a moral authority, we cannot simply dismiss the distinction between art and nature as a nostalgic relic. Disentangling the cultural roots of many current debates about new technologies, the essays in this volume examine notions of nature and art as they have been defined and redefined in Western culture, from the
Hippocratic writers' ideas of physis and techne [note: bar over e] and Aristotle's designation of mimetic arts to nineteenth-century chemistry and twenty-first century biomimetics. These essays--by specialists of different periods and various disciplines--reveal that the division between nature and art has been continually challenged and reassessed in Western thought. In antiquity, for example, mechanical devices were seen as working "against nature"; centuries later, Descartes not only claimed the opposite but argued that nature itself was mechanical. Nature and art, the essays show, are mutually constructed, defining and redefining themselves, partners in a continuous dance over the centuries.ContributorsBernadette
Bensaude-Vincent, Horst Bredekamp, John Hedley Brooke, Dennis Des Chene, Alan
Gabbey, Anthony Grafton, Roald Hoffmann, Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, William R. Newman,
Jessica Riskin, Heinrich Von Staden, Francis Wolff, Mark J. Schiefsky Bernadette
Bensaude-Vincent is Professor of History at the University of Paris X. She is the author of A History of Chemistry and other books. William R. Newman is Ruth Halls
Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at Indiana University, Bloomington.
He is the coeditor of Secrets of Nature (MIT Press, 1999) and author or editor of several other books.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262026208
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
10/31/2007
Series:
Dibner Institute Studies in the History of Science and Technology
Pages:
344
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.56(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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