Transforming Nature

Transforming Nature : Ethics, Invention and Discovery

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This book is but the draft of a draft, as Melville said of Moby Dick. There is no prose here to match Melville's, but the scope is worthy of the great white whale. No one could possibly write a comprehensive, authoritative book on ethics, invention and discovery. I have not tried to, though I hope my bibliography will be a useful starting point for other explorers, and the cases and ideas presented here will keep people arguing for years. Although this book is nothing like a textbook, it is written for my students. I was trained as a teacher of psychology in graduate school and ended-up, by one of those happy chances of the job market, teaching psychology to engineering students rather than psyche majors. My dissertation and early research were in the psychology of scientific hypothesis-testing (see Chapter 2). When I team-taught a course with W. Bernard Carlson, a historian of technology, I saw how cognitive psychology might be applied to the study of invention. Bernie and I received funding from the National Science Foundation for three years of research on the invention of the telephone; a portion of that work is described in Chapter 3.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 389 pages
  • 155 x 235 x 23.88mm | 1,660g
  • Dordrecht, Netherlands
  • English
  • 1998 ed.
  • XVIII, 389 p.
  • 0792381203
  • 9780792381204

Table of contents

1: Discovery. 1.1. Kepler. 1.2. Writing as Discovery. 1.3. Discovery as Invention: Michael Faraday. 1.4. Discovery as Negotiation: The Great Devonian Controversy. 1.5. The Double Helix. 1.6. The Canals on Mars. 1.7. Understanding and Teaching Discovery: What Have we Learned? 2: Understanding Discovery. 2.1. The Emergence of a Sociology of Scientific Knowledge. 2.2. The Scientific Method: Road to Truth or Superstitious Practice? 2.3. Cognitive Psychology of Science. 2.4. Metaphors and Analogies in Scientific Thinking. 2.5. Cognitive Psychology of Science in Perspective. 3: Creating a New World. 3.1. The Etheric Force and Cold Fusion: When Discovery and Invention Don't Mix. 3.2. Reverse Salients and Simultaneous Inventions. 3.3. A Cognitive Framework for Understanding the Invention Process. 3.4. Competition over the Harmonic Multiple Telegraph. 3.5. The Error that Led to the First Telephone. 3.6. Gray's Caveat for a Speaking Telegraph. 3.7. Bell's Ear Mental Model. 3.8. Bell's Patent and Gray's Caveat Compared. 3.9. Bell's Path to the First Transmission of Speech. 3.10. Bell and Gray's Liquid Transmitters in Perspective. 3.11. After the First Transmission of Speech. 3.12. Cognition, Invention and Discovery: The Five Generalizations. 3.13. What Invention Says to Cognitive Science. 4: Ethics, Invention and Discovery. 4.1. When Matter Becomes Energy. 4.2. Virtue and Moral Reasoning. 4.3. Moral Imagination. 4.4. Towards a Sustainable Tomorrow. 4.5.The Natural Step. 4.6. Science, Superstition and Sustainability. 4.7. Silicon Nightmare. 4.8. Design of an Environmentally Intelligent Fabric. 4.9. Current Solar Income. 4.10. Generalizations about Ethics, Invention and Discovery. 5: Teaching Ethics, Discovery and Invention. 5.1. What Students and Practitioners Need to Learn. 5.2. Using Abstract Simulations to Teach Scientific Thinking. 5.3. Turning Active Learning Modules into Case-Studies. 5.4. Turning Students into Inventors. 5.5. Cases that Combine Invention and Ethics. 5.6. Ethics Case Dilemmas. 5.7. Using Active Learning Modules to Teach Environmental Invention. 5.8. Implications for Educational Reform. 5.9. Implications for Managing Innovation. 5.10. Why Do we Not Act to Save the World? 5.11. Of Loons, and a Lake. Bibliography. Index.
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