Global Engineering and Sustainability- The growing importance of India and China, Part 4
The period from 1500 to 1700 Gladstone argues was marked by turbulent contention of diverse philosophical and scientific systems, with skeptics, proponents of new natural philosophies, and defenders of revelation and classical authorities across Europe. However by 1750, with more detailed geographic studies of the shape and curvature of the earth confirming Newton‘s claims for an oblate Earth (flattened at the poles and bulging at the equator due to the effect of its own rotation on its axis), the correctness of the new mechanical model of nature became beyond dispute for the intellectual elite.
Gladstone re-contextualizes industrialization through this new view of a mechanical universe, atomistic and driven by persistent natural forces, amenable to analysis by reason, having major repercussions for the political and social order in Europe. The consequence of efforts to overthrow most of what was deeply woven into the fabric of European history, culture, politics, and society were the ̳twin Enlightenments‘ – technological and socio‐political5 of the 18th century. These led to the development and implementation of the idea of society as a community of free individuals holding sovereign rights over a limited state essential for modern science and engineering cultures to survive, flourish, and produce the economic and technological miracles of the last two centuries.
Gurmeet Bambrah, PhD
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