Technology is often the product of people and their circumstances, yet its influence also far surpasses its immediate environment. This understanding of technology helps to explain the resulting changes to human behavior that occur over time, especially when one considers the historical periods involved in the development and distributions of specific technologies.
In keeping with the idea that some technologies may possess inherent value-laden qualities, consider how the invention of mechanized timekeeping devices (such as the mechanical clock) have radically changed human behavior over the last 1000 years.
For this assignment, explain the historical context and cultural traditions which led to the development of the mechanical clock. Do research on how the development and adoption of the mechanical clock in Europe later affected the United States. Be sure to give examples. Then, consider your own experience with a form of artifactual timekeeping. Consider the influence that precision in accurate timekeeping has had upon your own behavior, both in your everyday life and especially as an engineer.
Required Reading/Citation: Lewis Mumford, “Technics and Civilization” Sec. 1-3 – “The Monastery and the Clock”
In your write up, be sure to:
1. Describe the history of the mechanical clock, including at least one influence that led to its development (e.g., historical, cultural, religious, social, economic, political).
2. Explain how the mechanical clock gave rise to the concept of artifactual time.
3. Explain how precision in accurate timekeeping affected human behavior in both Europe and the United States. Give examples.
4. Think about how artifactual timekeeping has affected your own behavior, both in your everyday life and especially as an engineer. That is, consider the importance of measuring time with accuracy and precision that makes possible your training as an engineer.
Please do not use the following paper as a source:
“The Invention of the Mechanical Clock and Perceptions of Time in the 13th–15th Centuries”, by Mehitabel Glenhaber (2014), from The Concord Review.
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