The artificial and the natural: an evolving polarity

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MIT Press,
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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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Grouped Work ID 870d96d3-4fb0-ad89-2d8f-2ac1fa8751a4
full_title artificial and the natural an evolving polarity
author bernadette bensaude vincent and william r newman
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-08-14 05:04:35AM

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physical vi, 331 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
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series Dibner Institute studies in the history of science and technology
series2 Dibner Institute studies in the history of science and technology.
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table_of_contents Introduction -- Physis and technē in Greek medicine -- The three pleasures of mimesis according to Aristotle's Poetics -- Art and nature in ancient mechanics -- Art, nature, alchemy, and demons -- Forms of art in Jesuit Aristotelianism (with a coda on Descartes) -- The artificial and the natural -- Renaissance histories of art and nature -- Leibniz's theatre of nature and art and the idea of a universal picture atlas -- Spinoza on the natural and the artificial -- Eighteenth-century wetware -- Overtaking nature? the changing scope of organic chemistry in the nineteenth century -- Reconfiguring nature through syntheses -- Concluding comments.
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title The artificial and the natural an evolving polarity
title_display The artificial and the natural an evolving polarity
title_full The artificial and the natural [electronic resource] : an evolving polarity / edited by Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent and William R. Newman
title_short The artificial and the natural
title_sort artificial and the natural an evolving polarity
title_sub an evolving polarity