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A HISTORY OF KNOWLEDGE Past Present and Future ebook 电子书代购

A HISTORY OF KNOWLEDGE Past Present and Future ebook 电子书代购

Past, Present, and Future
Charks Van Dorm

Ballantine Books ? New York

Author to Reader
Progress in Knowledge xv
Kinds of Progress in Knowledge xvi
Universal History xvi
Primitive Man xviii
Knowledge of Particulars xix
General Knowledge xix
Certain Knowledge xxi
Knowledge and Happiness xxiii
Outline of the Book xxiii
1. Wisdom of the Ancients
Egypt 4
India 6
China 7
Mesopotamia 9
Aztec and Inca 11
Human Sacrifice 13
Judaism 15
Christianity 16
Judaism and Christianity Compared 18
Islam 19
Judeo-Christianity and Islam Compared
Buddhism 21
Lessons from the Past 23
Alphabets 25
Zero 27
2. The Greek Explosion
The Problem of Thales 30
The Invention of Mathematics:
The Pythagoreans 34
V l l l Contents
The Discovery of Atomic Theory:
Democritus 38
The Problem of Thales:
The Ultimate Solution 41
Moral Truth and Political Expediency:
Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle 42
The Fallacy of the Consequent 44
Greece versus Persia: The Fruitful Conflict
The Tragedy of Athens 51
Herodotus, Thucydides, and the Invention
of History 53
The Spirit of Greek Thought 56
3. What the Romans Knew
Greek Theory, Roman Practice 65
Law, Citizenship, and Roads 67
Lucretius 70
Cicero 72
Seneca 77
Tacitus 81
What the Romans Did Not Know 84
4. Light in the Dark Ages
The Fall of Rome 86
Post-Roman Europe 88
The Triumph of Christianity:
Constantine the Great 91
The Promise of Christianity:
Augustine 92
After'the Fall 95
5. The Middle Ages: The Great Experiment
The Struggle for Subsistence 98
A World of Enemies 99
The Problem of God 100
The Science of Theology 100
Theology in Other Religions 102
Principles of Theocracy 103
Empire and Papacy 105
Monasticism 106
Crusaders 109
Millennial Fears, Postmillennial
Achievements 110
The Dispute about Truth 112
Boethius 113
Pseudo-Dionysius 113
Avicenna 114
Peter Abelard 115
Bernard of Clairvaux 116
Averroes 117
Thomas Aquinas 119
The Pyrrhic Victory of Faith over Reason 122
Dante's Dance 124
6. What Was Reborn in the Renaissance?
The New Style in Painting: Perspective 128
Man in the Cosmos 129
The Revival of Classical Learning: Petrarch 130
Inventing the Renaissance: Boccaccio 132
The Renaissance Man 134
Renaissance Men: Leonardo, Pico, Bacon 137
The Renaissance Man and the Ideal of Liberal
Education 141
Renaissance Humanism 142
Montaigne 144
Shakespeare 146
Cervantes 148
The Black Death 151
Gutenberg's Achievement 153
Renaissance Cities 155
Nation-States 156
The Crisis of the Theocratic State 158
Erasmus 159
Thomas More 160
Henry VIII 161
Martin Luther 163
Tolerance and Intolerance 165
Man at the Center 166
7. Europe Reaches Out
Mongol Empires 169
Marco Polo 170
Voyages of Discovery 172
Columbus 174
Sailing Around the World 177
The Birth of World Trade 178
Trade in Ideas 179
Homage to Columbus 182
8. The Invention of Scientific Method
The Meaning of Science 184
Three Characteristics of Science 187
Aristotelian Science: Matter 190
Aristotelian Motion 191
The Revolt Against Aristotle 192
Copernicus 195
Tycho Brahe 196
Gilbert 197
Kepler 198
Galileo 199
Descartes 203
Newton 205
Rules of Reason 209
The Galilean-Cartesian Revolution 211
9. An Age of Revolutions 213
The Industrial Revolution 213
Human Machines and Mechanical Humans 214
An Age of Reason and Revolution 216
John Locke and the Revolution of 1688 218
Property, Government, and Revolution 220
Two Kinds of Revolution 222
Thomas Jefferson and the Revolution
of 1776 223
The Declaration of Independence 224
Property in Rights 226
Robespierre, Napoleon, and the Revolution
of 1789 228
The Rise of Equality 232
Mozart's Don Giovanni 234
Goethe's Faust 238
10. The Nineteenth Century: Prelude to Modernity 243
The Difference Money Makes 244
Economic Life Before 1800: The Peasant 245
The Lord 247
The Cleric 248
The King 248
The Merchant 249
The Rise of the Labor Market: Economics 251
Faustian Development 255
Marxism: Theory and Practice 257
Marxian Insights 261
Economic Facts: Steam Power 264
Equality in the Muzzle of a Gun 266
The Magic of Electricity 269
Magical Mathematics 271
New Ways of Seeing 273
The End of Slavery 275
Shocking the Bourgeoisie 278
Darwin and Freud 280
Contents XI
11. The World in 1914 284
Economic Divisions 284
The Study of War 285
Colonialism 287
The Boer War 289
The Powder Keg of Europe 289
Character of the 1914-1918 War 291
Thoughts on War and Death 292
Causes of War 295
12. The Twentieth Century: The Triumph of 'Democracy 297
The Progress of Democracy 299
Communism 304
Totalitarianism 307
Theocracy in the Twentieth Century 311
Economic Justice 313
Why Not World Government? 314
One World, One Human Race 317
13. The Twentieth Century: Science and Technology 321
Greek Atomic Theory 321
The Revival of Atomic Theory 323
What Einstein Did 325
What the Bomb Taught Us 327
The Problem of Life ' 328
The Science of Heredity 329
How DNA Works 330
The Size of the Universe 332
Galaxies 332
The Smallness of Earth 334
The Big Bang and the Primordial Atom 334
Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle 337
Uncertainties of Knowledge 338
One Giant Step 341
Green Rebellion 342
The Terrestrial Greenhouse 343
Digital Computers and Knowledge 345
Turing Machines 348
Technological Dependence 350
Triumphs of Medicine 351
Drug Cultures 353
The AIDS Challenge 354
xii Contents
14. The Twentieth Century: Art and the Media 356
The Media and Their Messages 356
A Visual Revolution: Picasso, Braque, Cubism 359
Pollock, Rothko, and the Hexagonal Room 361
Urban Revolution:
The Bauhaus and Le Corbusier 363
Literary Prophets: Yeats 365
A Passage to India 366
The Castle and the Magician 367
Waiting for Godot 369 "
Mass Media and Education 370
15. The Next Hundred Years 375
Computers: The Next Stage 377
The Moral Problem of Intelligent Machines 379
Companion Computers 379
The Birth of Thinking Machines 381
Three Worlds: Big, Little, Middle-sized 383
Chaos, a New Science 384
Mining Language: Ideonomy 386
Exploring the Solar System 387
The Message? 390
Man as a Terrestrial Neighbor 392
The Gaia Hypothesis 395
Genetic Engineering 397
Eugenics 398
Mapping the Genome 400
Democracy and Eugenics 402
Speed 403
Addictions 406
War in the Twenty-first Century 408
Computer Revolt 410
Index 413
THIS BOOK is the result of a lifetime of reading, thinking, and talking.
Its seeds were planted nearly fifty years ago, when I was a student at
St. John's College and was introduced to the world of ideas by Scott
Buchanan, Jacob Klein, and Richard Scofield.
I made my first acquaintance with the literature of universal history
thirty years ago, when I was writing The Idea of Progress (Praeger, 1967).
My mentor at the time—as he continues to be today—was Mortimer J.
Adler. We have discussed many of the themes treated here repeatedly over
the years, and he has given me many useful bibliographical suggestions.
We have agreed on many points, and differed on others. His intellectual
judgments are represented in many places in this book, usually without
credit. I offer it here.
Students of the history of knowledge owe much to the work of F. J.
Teggart and G. H. Hildebrand, whose carefully chosen collection of
classic readings, The Idea of Progress (University of California Press, 1949),
is a consistently useful guide to works from three millennia.
For broad interpretations of this literature I am indebted to many
philosophical historians, from Ibn Khaldun to Oswald Spengler, from
Arnold J. Toynbee to Fernand Braudel. The last, in particular, taught me
to pay close attention to the small details of everyday life, which tell us so
much about the way people live, whatever they say or write.
For the history of science, I am indebted to various works by James
Burke (especially Connections, Little Brown, 1978), Herbert Butterfield
(especially The Origins of Modern Science, Macmillan, 1951), and Erwin
Schrodinger (especially Nature and the Greeks, Cambridge, 1954).
Among anthropologists, I have learned most from Bronislaw Malinowski,
Claude Levi-Strauss, and Lord Raglan, author of The Hero (Vintage,
1956). Robert L. Heilbroner's The Worldly Historians (Simon and Schuster,
1953, 1986) has helped me to understand and utilize a number of works in
Every time I reread Marshall McLuhan's Understanding Media
(McGraw Hill, 1965) I am again impressed by the power of his insights
and the accuracy of his predictions.
xiv Acknowledgments
No recent book about the worldwide experience of modernity seems to me
so thoughtful and provocative as Marshall Berman's All That Is Solid Melts Into
Air (Simon & Schuster, 1982). I have not met its author, but I have engaged
Professor Berman in many silent conversations in the watches of the night.
It was my brother, John Van Doren, who brought Berman's book to my
attention; he also made me read for the first time, many years ago, John
Masefield's perfect lyric of world history, "Cargoes." I am grateful for
these recommendations, among many others; for his thoughtful comments
on parts of the manuscript; and for conversations over five decades,
during which I doubtless got more than I gave.
I am grateful, indeed, to all my friends and seminar students over the
past six years who, in the course of discussions more or less formal and
more or less heated, have given me ideas and helped me to understand
points that had baffled or irritated me. They could not have known this at
the time, nor could I now more precisely enumerate my debts.
My twenty years as an editor of Encyclopaedia Britannica taught me
much about many things. In particular I grew to have a profound respect not
only for my colleagues but also for the work that they produce. Hardly a day
has passed when I have not consulted the Britannica on some matter, major
or minor. I am well aware that the editors of Britannica have been engaged
for more than two centuries in the same task that I have here undertaken for
myself—that is, the preparation of a history of the knowledge of the human
race. They have, of course, gone about it in a very different way.
It is my pleasure to record here three other debts. The first is to Patrick
Gunkel, the inventor of ideonomy and my friend of two decades. In a
hundred lengthy conversations over the years Pat has brought me to
understand that there is a history of the future as well as the past. I have
shamelessly employed some of his insights, including the idea of companion
computers (CCs). The most valuable thing he has taught me is that
the future has a hard substantiality and may be even more intelligible
than the past. It is, of course, the present that is hardest to understand.
I owe a large debt to my editors, Hillel Black and Donald J. Davidson,
who insisted ruthlessly on clarity and demanded that I write, rewrite, and
rewrite until they were satisfied I had said what I intended. If the book
has merit, they deserve much of the credit. Its faults are mine alone.
My wife, Geraldine, read every page of the manuscript twice and made
a thousand suggestions, most of which I adopted. More important, she
allowed me to experiment with ideas, as I proposed theses that either
outraged, delighted, or amused her. The book could not have existed
without her help.
Cornwall, Connecticut





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