Princeton University
Program in History of Science

HOS 598, Fall 2006
Thinking Through Things and Thinking Things Through:
The Material Epistemology of Science

Professor Michael S. Mahoney

Joseph Wright, Experiment on a Bird in an Airpump (1789)
Photo ©National Gallery, London

Through an oversight, the announced topic and sample readings for this course at the Registrar's and Department's sites are inaccurate.  As the title suggests, the seminar will deal with the question of the kind of knowledge that is embodied in the material objects of science, in particular scientific instruments.  We will take our lead from the recent book by Davis Baird, Thing Knowledge: A Philosophy of Scientific Instruments [online (PU only), Amazon], and trace the topic from the seventeenth century down to the present. 

This course web page is currently under development, and it should expand considerably over the next couple of weeks.

The course will meet on Tuesday afternoons, 1:30-4:30

1. 09/19 Introduction and Organization
Please read as much of Baird's book as you can.
2. 09/26 Models
Baird, Chap. 2
M.S. Mahoney, "Historical Perspectives on Models and Modeling" (unpubl. draft )
R.I.G. Hughes, "Models and Representation", Philosophy of Science, 64(1997), Supplement, Part II, S325-S336 (JSTOR)
S. de Chadarevian and N. Hopwood (eds.), Models: The Third Dimension of Science. Choose or two of the articles according to your interests.
3. 10/03
Drawing and Seeing
Martin Rudwick, "The emergence of a visual language for geological science: 1760-1840", History of Science 14(1976), 148-195 [in HOS Grad Study Room (SSS)]
R. Giere, Science Without Laws, Ch.7, "Visual Models"
Wolfgang Lefèvre, Picturing Machines 1400-1700 (the book is best read together with a comprehensive database of machine drawings from the Renaissance and early modern era
Sachiko Kusukawa and Ian Maclean, Transmitting Knowledge: Words, Images, and Instruments in Early Modern Europe
Eugene S. Ferguson, Engineering and the Mind's Eye
M. Lynch and S. Woolgar, eds., Representation in Scientific Practice, essay by Latour, "Drawing Things Together", and other essays according to your interests
B.S. Baigrie, Picturing Knowledge
Special Issue on Pictorial Representation in Biology, Biology & Philosophy, Vol. 6, no. 2 (April 1991)[PU online]

S. Alpers, The Art of Describing
R. Arnheim, Visual Thinking
E.H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion

4. 10/10
New Scientific Instruments I
Galileo Galilei, Starry Messenger [in S. Drake, Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo, multiple copies in Reserve Room] and Assayer [online]
Accademia del Cimento, Essayes of Natural Experiments (tr. R. Waller) [ Italian original online]
Robert Hooke, Micrographia [ Original edition online, reprint ed. in SSS]
C. Dobell, ed. Antony van Leeuwenhoek and his "Little Animals" (van Leeuwenhoek's writings in translation)

A. van Helden, The Invention of the Telescope, Transactions of the APS, 67,4(1977), 1-67[JSTOR]
Edward G. Ruestow, The microscope in the Dutch Republic: The Shaping of Discovery
D.G. Burnett, Descartes and the Hyperbolic Quest: Lens Making Machines and their Significance in the Seventeenth Century, Transactions of the APS 95,3(2005)
W.E.K. Middleton, The Experimenters: A Study of the Accademia del cimento
Thomas L. Hankins and Robert J. Silverman (eds.), Instruments and the Imagination

5. 10/17
New Scientific Instruments II
William J.H. Andrewes, The Quest for Longitude, essays by Stimson (71), Van Helden (85), Leopold (101), Turner (115), Howse (149), Burgess (256)
Michael S. Mahoney, "The Determination of Time and of Longitude at Sea", in H.J.M Bos, et al, Studies on Christiaan Huygens, 234-270 [online] and "Drawing Mechanics", in Picturing Machines
J.H. Leopold, "Christiaan Huygens and his Instrument Makers", in Studies on Christiaan Huygens, 221-233
Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, Leviathan and the Air Pump
Steven Shapin, "The invisible technician, American Scientist, 77(1989) 554-563.
Alice Stroup, "Christiaan Huygens and the Development of the Air Pump", Janus 68(1981), 129-58

H.M. Collins and D.M. Kusch, "Automating Air Pumps: An Empirical and Conceptual Analysis", Technology and Culture 36,4(1995), 802-829

6. 10/24
Machine Science and Machine Production
Machines in General
S. Schaffer, "Machine Philosophy: Demonstration Devices in Georgian Mechanics", Osiris, 9(1994), 157-182 [JSTOR] Atwood's Treatise on Rectilinear Motion (1784) is available online(PU) Smeaton's 1776 Phil. Trans. article referred to by Schaffer is available through JSTOR
R. Sorrenson, "George Graham, visible technician", British Journal for the History of Science, 32(1999), 203-221 [xerox on shelf]; cf. Sorrenson's Princeton dissertation, "The Most Perfect Mechanics of All: Instrument Makers at the Royal Society of London in the 18th Century" [xerox on shelf]
L. Stewart, "A Meaning for Machines: Modernity, Utility, and the Eighteenth Century British Public", Journal of Modern History, 70,2(1998), 259-294 [JSTOR]

Textile Machinery Richard Hills, Power in the Industrial Revolution
W. English, The Textile Industry: An Account of the Early Inventions of Spinning, Weaving, and Knitting Machines

Steam Engine Eugene S. Ferguson's "The Origins of the Steam Engine", Scientific American (Jan. 1964) [xerox on shelf]
D.S.L. Cardwell, From Watt to Clausius: the rise of thermodynamics in the early industrial age

7. 11/07
Precision Measurement and Machining
M.N. Wise (ed.), The Values of Precision
M.R. Smith, Harper's Ferry Armory and the New Technology [several copies in Reserve Room, also online]
D. Hounshell, From American System to Mass Production
Robert S. Woodbury, "Eli Whitney and Interchangeable Parts", Tech&Cult 1(1960), 235-254 [JSTOR]
O. Mayr and R.C. Post (eds.), Yankee Enterprise: The Rise of the American System of Manufactures, essays by A.E. Musson, P. Uselding, and D. Hounshell [copies in Reserve Room at Firestone]
Nathan Rosenberg, "Technological Change in the Machine Tool Industry, 1840-1910", Journal of Economic History 23(1963), 414-443 [repr. in Rosenberg,Perspectives on Technology (Cambridge U.P., 1976), Chap.1] [packet] [JSTOR]
R.B. Gordon, "Who Turned the Mechanical Ideal into Mechanical Reality?", Tech&Cult, 29,4(1988), 744-778 [JSTOR]
Edward Battison, "Screw-Thread Cutting by the Master Screw Method since 1480", Bulletin of the United States National Museum 240(1964), paper 37
B. Sinclair, "At the Turn of a Screw: William Sellers, the Franklin Institute, and a Standard American Thread", Tech&Cult, 10,1(1969), 20-34 [JSTOR]. Here is a pdf copy of Seller's paper read to the Franklin Institute in April, 1864, as published in the Institute's Journal
Henry A. Rowland, "Screw", Encyclopedia Britannica, 9th ed., XXI, 506-511 [pdf]
George K. Sweetnam, The Command of Light: Rowland's School of Physics and the Spectrum, Trans. APS, v. 238

L.T.C. Rolt, Tools for the Job: A History of Machine Tools to 1950
Robert S. Woodbury, Studies in the History of Machine Tools
Chris Evans, Precision Engineering: An Evolutionary View Ken Alder, Engineering the Revolution: Arms and Enlightenment in France, 1763-1815

8. 11/14
Medical Instruments and Instrumental Medicine
Stanley J. Reiser. Medicine and the Reign of Technology [several copies in Reserve Room]; cf. his "The Medical Influence of the Stethoscope", Scientific American 240(1979), 148-56
Audrey B. Davis, Medicine and its Technology: An Introduction to the History of Medical Instrumentation
Robert Bud, et al. (eds.), Manifesting medicine : bodies and machines
Joel D. Howell (ed.), Technology and American Medical Practice, 1880-1930: An Anthology of Sources; see in particular:
Harvey Cushing, "On Routine Determinations of Arterial Tension in Operating Room and Clinic" (1903), 47-53
Fred T. Murphy, "Report on Blood-Pressure Observations at the Massachusetts General Hospital" (1904), 54-62
Lewellys F. Barker, "Electrocardiography and Phonocardiography. A Collective Review" (1910), 171-202
See also his Technology in the Hospital: Transforming Patient Care in the Early Twentieth Century

R. Rawlins, A dissertation on the structure of the obstetric forceps, pointing out its defects, and especially of those with double curved blades: at the same time, shewing particularly the safe application of those with single curved blades, ... [online]
John Leake, Introduction to the theory and practice of midwifery ... To which are added, a description of the author's new forceps, ... [online]
Hughes Evans, "Losing Touch: The Controversy over the Introduction of Blood Pressure Instruments into Medicine," Technology and Culture 34(1993), 784-807 [JSTOR]
Lionel S. Beale, The microscope in its application to practical medicine
Domenico Bertoloni Meli (ed.), Marcello Malpighi : anatomist and physician , essays by Meli and Jim Bennett
Robert G. Frank, Jr., "Instruments, Nerve Action, and the All-or-None Principle", Osiris 9(1994), 208-235 [JSTOR]

9. 11/21
Tacit Knowledge
Baird, Chap. 3, "Working Knowledge", and Chap. 7, "The Thing-y-ness of Things"

H. M. Collins, "What is Tacit Knowledge?", in The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory, ed.Theodore R. Schatzki et al., 107-119 [xerox on shelf]
H.M. Collins, "The TEA Set: Tacit Knowledge and Scientific Networks", Science Studies 4(1974), 165-185 [JSTOR], repr. in B. Barnes and D. Edge (eds.), Science in Context: Readings in the Sociology of Science [xerox on shelf]
H.M. Collins, "Tacit Knowledge, Trust and the Q of Sapphire", Social Studies of Science 31(2001), 71-85 [ JSTOR]
R. Harré, "The structure of tacit knowledge", Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 8(1977), 172-177 [xerox on shelf]
Heinz Otto Sibum, "Reworking the mechanical value of heat: Instruments of precision and gestures of accuracy in early Victorian England", Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 26,1(1995), 73-106 [pdf]
Kathryn M. Olesko, "Tacit Knowledge and School Formation", Osiris 8(1993), 16-29 [ JSTOR]
Donald MacKenzie, "Tacit knowledge, weapons design, and the uninvention of nuclear weapons", American Journal of Sociology 101(1995), 44-99 [ JSTOR]
H. Breger, "Tacit Knowledge and Mathematical Progress", in The Growth of Mathematical Knowledge, ed. E. Grosholz and H. Breger, 221-230 [xerox on shelf]

Dag Svanæs, "Kinaesthetic Thinking: The Tacit Dimension of Interaction Design", Computers in Human Behavior 13,4(1997), 443 - 463 [online]
D. Stenmark, "Turning Tacit Knowledge Tangible", in Proceedings of HICSS-33 (2000) [pdf]

Michael Polanyi, Personal Knowlege

Frank R. Wilson: The Hand: How Its Use Shape the Brain, Language, and Human Culture
Allen Newell, "Intellectual Issues in the History of Artificial Intelligence", in Fritz Machlup and Una Mansfeld (eds.), The Study of Information: Interdisciplinary Messages, 187-227

10. 11/28
Designing Things
Donald A. Norman
The Psychology of Everyday Things (= The Design of Everyday Things) [multiple copies at various libraries, including one in Reserve Room at Firestone]
Things That Make Us Smart
Turn Signals Are the Facial Expressions of Automobiles
The Invisible Computer
Henry Petroski
The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance [at Reserve Desk]
The Evolution of Useful Things
Invention By Design: How Engineers Get From Thought to Thing [copies in Architecture, Engineering, and Firestone]
Small Things Considered: Why There is No Perfect Design
Robert Friedel, Zipper: An Exploration in Novelty
Walter G. Vincenti, What Engineers Know and How They Know It
Nathaniel S. Borenstein, Programming as if People Mattered: Friendly Programs, Software Engineering, and Other Noble Delusions
11. 12/05
Artificial Intelligence
Alan M. Turing, "Computing Machinery and Intelligence", Mind 59(1950), 433-60 
"Artificial Intelligence: A Debate" (John Searle vs. Paul and Patricia Churchland), Scientific American (January 1990), 25-37 
John McCarthy, Marvin Minsky, Nathaniel Rochester, Claude E. Shannon,  A Proposal for the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence(1956)  (pdf)
Marvin Minsky, "Steps Toward Artificial Intelligence", in Edward Feigenbaum and Julian Feldman, Computers and Thought (1963), 406-450.  (xerox copy on shelf - read for general argument; don't get bogged down in the technical details)
Herbert Simon, The Sciences of the Artificial, Chaps. 3-4
Joseph Weizenbaum, "ELIZA -- A Computer Program For the Study of Natural Language Communication Between Man and Machine", Comm. ACM 9,1(1966), 36-45 [pdf] [online implementation (not very good)]

Allen Newell, "Intellectual Issues in the History of Artificial Intelligence", in Fritz Machlup and Una Mansfeld (eds.), The Study of Information: Interdisciplinary Messages, 187-227 (xerox copy on shelf)
Seymour Papert, "One AI or Many?", Daedalus 117,1(Winter, 1988), 1-14 [ pdf] (xerox copy on shelf)

Background and Additional References
Edward Feigenbaum and Julian Feldman, Computers and Thought (1963) - a classic collection of early papers
Margaret A. Boden (ed.), The Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence (includes Turing's and Searle's papers)
Ronald Chrisley and Sander Begeer, Artificial Intelligence: Critical Concepts (Routledge, 2000) - an impressive anthology of the seminal literature on the subject; see contents
Hubert L. Dreyfus, What Computers Can't Do (Harper & Row, 1972) 
Joseph Weizenbaum, Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgment to Calculation (San Francisco, 1976)
Marvin Minsky, The Society of Mind (Simon and Schuster, 1986) 
Harry M. Collins, Artificial Experts:  Social Knowledge and Intelligent Machines (MIT Press, 1990)
Daniel Crevier, AI: The Tumultuous History of the Search for Artificial Intelligence (Basic Books, 1993)
12. 12/12 Software as Text and Artifact, or What Do Computers Know and How Do They Know It?
Rodney A.Brooks, "Intelligence Without Representation", Artificial Intelligence Journal (47), 1991, pp. 139–159. (pdf)
----,  "Intelligence Without Reason", Proceedings of 12th Int. Joint Conf. on Artificial Intelligence, Sydney, Australia, August 1991, pp. 569–595 (pdf)
----, Cambrian Intelligence: The Early History of the New AI (a collection of his articles, many of which are available online); for other articles, see his publications on his homepage
----, Flesh and Machines: How Robots Will Change Us [copies in various libraries, also online]
Paul Humphreys, Extending Ourselves: Computational Science, Empiricism, and Scientific Method

John Unsworth, " Knowledge Representation in Humanities Computing"

Brian Cantwell Smith, The Origin of Objects
Brian C. Smith, "The Semantics of Clocks", Aspects of Artificial Intelligence, ed. James H. Fetzer, 3-31 [xerox on shelf]
Cilliers,Complexity and Postmodernism [online]
A. Riegler, M. Peschl, and A. von Stein (eds.), Understanding Representation in the Cognitive Sciences

Working Bibliography

James Woodward, Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation
Hasok Chang, Inventing Temperature: Measurement and Scientific Progress
Norton Wise, "Making Visible", Isis 97(2006), 75-82
Paul Cilliers, Complexity and Postmodernism