• The History of Metallurgy

    Author(s):
    Rochelle Forrester (see profile)
    Date:
    2019
    Group(s):
    Historical theory and the philosophy of history
    Subject(s):
    Cultural evolution
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    history of smelting, history of copper, history of steel, history of bronze, smelting, history of metallurgy, substantive philosophy of history, speculative philosophy of history, teleological history
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/23nt-qf60
    Abstract:
    The ultimate cause of much historical, social and cultural change is the gradual accumulation of human knowledge of the environment. Human beings use the materials in their environment, including fire and metals, to meet their needs and increased human knowledge of fire and metals enables human needs to be met in a more efficient manner. Fire and metals have particular properties and human knowledge of those properties increases over time in a particular order. Increasing human knowledge of how to create higher and higher temperatures enables the smelting and melting of a wider range of ores and metals. Those ores and metals that could be smelted and melted at lower temperatures were used before the ores and metals which had higher smelting and melting points. This meant that copper, and its alloy bronze, were used before iron and its alloy steel. Pure metals, like copper and iron, were used before alloys such as, bronze and steel, as the manufacture of alloys is more complicated than the manufacture of pure metals. The simplest knowledge is acquired first and more complex knowledge is acquired later. The order of discovery determines the course of human social and cultural history, as knowledge of new and more efficient means of smelting ores and melting metals, results in new technology, which contributes to the development of new social and ideological systems. This means human social and cultural history, had to follow a particular course, a course that was determined by the properties of the materials in the human environment.
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    Published
    Last Updated:
    7 months ago
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