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Artisanal EnlightenmentScience and the Mechanical Arts in Old Regime France$
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Paola Bertucci

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300227413

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300227413.001.0001

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L’Esprit in the Machine

L’Esprit in the Machine

Chapter:
(p.176) Chapter 6 L’Esprit in the Machine
Source:
Artisanal Enlightenment
Author(s):

Paola Bertucci

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300227413.003.0007

This chapter examines the role of the mechanical arts in the articulation of educational programs and of projects of reform of the manufacturing system. It shows that around the 1730s, mechanical devices such as clocks and watches were considered as material metaphors of the rational mind. A positive conception of the repetitive nature of artisanal gestures underpinned the introduction of machines in popular educational programs, such as Louis Dumas' method for teaching children how to read, or the abbé Nollet's course of experimental physics. These inventions relocated skill from the body of the artisan into the machine, and so introduced a new system of production that mechanized human labor and silenced potentially riotous workers.

Keywords:   mechanical arts, reform, manufacturing system, mechanical devices, educational programs, experimental physics, human labor

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