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A History of Knowledge : Past, Present and Future


Charles Van Doren



0345373162
Retail Price: $16.95
LS Price: $11.53
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Format: Paperback, 422pp.
ISBN: 9780345373168
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pub. Date: April 1992

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Item No: 9780345373168



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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

A one-voume reference to the history of ideas that is a compendium of everything that humankind has thought, invented, created, considered, and perfected from the beginning of civilization into the twenty-first century. Massive in its scope, and yet totally accessible, A HISTORY OF KNOWLEDGE covers not only all the great theories and discoveries of the human race, but also explores the social conditions, political climates, and individual men and women of genius that brought ideas to fruition throughout history.

"Crystal clear and concise...Explains how humankind got to know what it knows."

—Clifton Fadiman

Selected by the Book-of-the-Month Club and the History Book Club
 

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Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsxiii
Author to Readerxv
Progress in Knowledgexv
Kinds of Progress in Knowledgexvi
Universal Historyxvi
Primitive Manxviii
Knowledge of Particularsxix
General Knowledgexix
Certain Knowledgexxi
Knowledge and Happinessxxiii
Outline of the Bookxxiii
1.Wisdom of the Ancients3
Egypt4
India6
China7
Mesopotamia9
Aztec and Inca11
Human Sacrifice13
Judaism15
Christianity16
Judaism and Christianity Compared18
Islam19
Judeo-Christianity and Islam Compared20
Buddhism21
Lessons from the Past23
Alphabets25
Zero27
2.The Greek Explosion29
The Problem of Thales30
The Invention of Mathematics: The Pythagoreans34
The Discovery of Atomic Theory: Democritus38
The Problem of Thales: The Ultimate Solution41
Moral Truth and Political Expediency: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle42
The Fallacy of the Consequent44
Greece versus Persia: The Fruitful Conflict48
The Tragedy of Athens51
Herodotus, Thucydides, and the Invention of History53
The Spirit of Greek Thought56
3.What the Romans Knew60
Greek Theory, Roman Practice65
Law, Citizenship, and Roads67
Lucretius70
Cicero72
Seneca77
Tacitus81
What the Romans Did Not Know84
4.Light in the Dark Ages86
The Fall of Rome86
Post-Roman Europe88
The Triumph of Christianity: Constantine the Great91
The Promise of Christianity: Augustine92
After the Fall95
5.The Middle Ages: The Great Experiment98
The Struggle for Subsistence98
A World of Enemies99
The Problem of God100
The Science of Theology100
Theology in Other Religions102
Principles of Theocracy103
Empire and Papacy105
Monasticism106
Crusaders109
Millennial Fears, Postmillennial Achievements110
The Dispute about Truth112
Boethius113
Pseudo-Dionysius113
Avicenna114
Peter Abelard115
Bernard of Clairvaux116
Averroes117
Thomas Aquinas119
The Pyrrhic Victory of Faith over Reason122
Dante's Dance124
6.What Was Reborn in the Renaissance?127
The New Style in Painting: Perspective128
Man in the Cosmos129
The Revival of Classical Learning: Petrarch130
Inventing the Renaissance: Boccaccio132
The Renaissance Man134
Renaissance Men: Leonardo, Pico, Bacon137
The Renaissance Man and the Ideal of Liberal Education141
Renaissance Humanism142
Montaigne144
Shakespeare146
Cervantes148
The Black Death151
Gutenberg's Achievement153
Renaissance Cities155
Nation-States156
The Crisis of the Theocratic State158
Erasmus159
Thomas More160
Henry VIII161
Martin Luther163
Tolerance and Intolerance165
Man at the Center166
7.Europe Reaches Out168
Mongol Empires169
Marco Polo170
Voyages of Discovery172
Columbus174
Sailing Around the World177
The Birth of World Trade178
Trade in Ideas179
Homage to Columbus182
8.The Invention of Scientific Method184
The Meaning of Science184
Three Characteristics of Science187
Aristotelian Science: Matter190
Aristotelian Motion191
The Revolt Against Aristotle192
Copernicus195
Tycho Brahe196
Gilbert197
Kepler198
Galileo199
Descartes203
Newton205
Rules of Reason209
The Galilean-Cartesian Revolution211
9.An Age of Revolutions213
The Industrial Revolution213
Human Machines and Mechanical Humans214
An Age of Reason and Revolution216
John Locke and the Revolution of 1688218
Property, Government, and Revolution220
Two Kinds of Revolution222
Thomas Jefferson and the Revolution of 1776223
The Declaration of Independence224
Property in Rights226
Robespierre, Napoleon, and the Revolution of 1789228
The Rise of Equality232
Mozart's Don Giovanni234
Goethe's Faust238
10.The Nineteenth Century: Prelude to Modernity243
The Difference Money Makes244
Economic Life Before 1800: The Peasant245
The Lord247
The Cleric248
The King248
The Merchant249
The Rise of the Labor Market: Economics251
Faustian Development255
Marxism: Theory and Practice257
Marxian Insights261
Economic Facts: Steam Power264
Equality in the Muzzle of a Gun266
The Magic of Electricity269
Magical Mathematics271
New Ways of Seeing273
The End of Slavery275
Shocking the Bourgeoisie278
Darwin and Freud280
11.The World in 1914284
Economic Divisions284
The Study of War285
Colonialism287
The Boer War289
The Powder Keg of Europe289
Character of the 1914-1918 War291
Thoughts on War and Death292
Causes of War295
12.The Twentieth Century: The Triumph of Democracy297
The Progress of Democracy299
Communism304
Totalitarianism307
Theocracy in the Twentieth Century311
Economic Justice313
Why Not World Government?314
One World, One Human Race317
13.The Twentieth Century: Science and Technology321
Greek Atomic Theory321
The Revival of Atomic Theory323
What Einstein Did325
What the Bomb Taught Us327
The Problem of Life328
The Science of Heredity329
How DNA Works330
The Size of the Universe332
Galaxies332
The Smallness of Earth334
The Big Bang and the Primordial Atom334
Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle337
Uncertainties of Knowledge338
One Giant Step341
Green Rebellion342
The Terrestrial Greenhouse343
Digital Computers and Knowledge345
Turing Machines348
Technological Dependence350
Triumphs of Medicine351
Drug Cultures353
The AIDS Challenge354
14.The Twentieth Century: Art and the Media356
The Media and Their Messages356
A Visual Revolution: Picasso, Braque, Cubism359
Pollock, Rothko, and the Hexagonal Room361
Urban Revolution: The Bauhaus and Le Corbusier363
Literary Prophets: Yeats365
A Passage to India366
The Castle and the Magician367
Waiting for Godot369
Mass Media and Education370
15.The Next Hundred Years375
Computers: The Next Stage377
The Moral Problem of Intelligent Machines379
Companion Computers379
The Birth of Thinking Machines381
Three Worlds: Big, Little, Middle-sized383
Chaos, a New Science384
Mining Language: Ideonomy386
Exploring the Solar System387
The Message?390
Man as a Terrestrial Neighbor392
The Gaia Hypothesis395
Genetic Engineering397
Eugenics398
Mapping the Genome400
Democracy and Eugenics402
Speed403
Addictions406
War in the Twenty-first Century408
Computer Revolt410
Index413


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