The Evolution of Knowledge
Rethinking Science for the Anthropocene
Aims and Scope
A fundamentally new approach to the history of science and technology
This book presents a new way of thinking about the history of science and technology, one that offers a grand narrative of human history in which knowledge serves as a critical factor of cultural evolution. Jürgen Renn examines the role of knowledge in global transformations going back to the dawn of civilization while providing vital perspectives on the complex challenges confronting us today in the Anthropocene—this new geological epoch shaped by humankind.
Renn reframes the history of science and technology within a much broader history of knowledge, analyzing key episodes such as the evolution of writing, the emergence of science in the ancient world, the Scientific Revolution of early modernity, the globalization of knowledge, industrialization, and the profound transformations wrought by modern science. He investigates the evolution of knowledge using an array of disciplines and methods, from cognitive science and experimental psychology to earth science and evolutionary biology. The result is an entirely new framework for understanding structural changes in systems of knowledge—and a bold new approach to the history and philosophy of science.
Written by one of today's preeminent historians of science, The Evolution of Knowledge features essays on historiographical themes, a glossary of key terms, and practical insights on global issues ranging from climate change to digital capitalism. This incisive book also serves as an invaluable introduction to the history of knowledge.
- 256 pages
- 105 b/w illus.
- PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS
- General/trade;Professional and scholarly;College/higher education;
"For a long time, historians of science have shied away from grand overarching narratives, concentrating instead on specialized microhistories. This book boldly counteracts this trend, offering a new framework for a history of knowledge able to cope with the present-day challenges of the Anthropocene."—Ana Simões, coauthor of Neither Physics nor Chemistry: A History of Quantum Chemistry