[Humanist] 26.643 pubs: Master and Servant in Technoscience (ISR 37.4)

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Jan 2 09:08:11 CET 2013

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 643.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Wed, 02 Jan 2013 07:51:39 +0000
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 37.4 (December 2012)

Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 37.4 (December 2012)
Master and Servant in Technoscience

Master and Servant in Technoscience
Krajewski, Markus
pp. 287-298(12)

[Editorial, freely accessible at the above URL]

Letter, Word, and Good Messengers: Towards an Archaeology of Remote 
Stock, Markus
pp. 299-313(15)

Some late-medieval illuminations, in which depictions of messengers play 
an important role, are examined in order to shed light on the images' 
preoccupation with body and script, and on their attempts at 
illustrating norms and anxieties regarding messengers and their duties. 
Cultural production in medieval Europe frequently depicted instances of 
remote communication and displayed an awareness of its problems and 
challenges. Distant communication relied on subaltern human agents, who 
carried written messages and used their own body to store and deliver 
messages. The pictorial treatments point to a love‐hate relationship of 
the senders/recipients to the messengers as the necessary third party. 
Beyond control, out of the eyes of the master, every messenger had the 
potential of endangering the success of the desired communication. Thus, 
the images highlight the fragility of a communicative situation 
dependent on human relays.

Little Helpers. About Demons, Angels and Other Servants
Canales, Jimena; Krajewski, Markus
pp. 314-331(18)

In politics as in history, masters accomplish great things, but often, 
lowly beings such as servants perform those tasks. At times, they 
subvert them. In science, servant-beings are frequently described as 
demons and angels. Who are these effective agents? This essay traces 
parts of the large historical network of persons and places in which 
"€˜little helpers"€™ service their master's will. It looks at instances were 
masters try to exorcise the servant-demons who instead of helping them, 
disturb their plans. By uncovering fragments of this often hidden 
network, we explore the strange relationship between masters and 
servants, and the role of earthly and heavenly agents in science.

Architect and Service Architect: The Quarrel between Charles Barry and 
David Boswell Reid
Gleich, Moritz
pp. 332-344(13)

In the course of the reconstruction of the London Houses of Parliament, 
after a fire destroyed it in 1834, two men, Charles Barry and David 
Boswell Reid, quarrelled; the far-reaching discoursive and spatial 
implications of this quarrel, which in retrospect reached a paradigmatic 
scale, are explored. What unfolds between them is nothing less than a 
struggle about the principles of a representative and a subservient 
architecture, between the visible front side and the concealed reverse 
side of building construction. The history of modern era architecture 
recognises this building as an iconic centre of power, but it may also 
be labelled with some justification as an architectural centre of servitude.

The Lives of Mechanical Servants
Brandstetter, Thomas
pp. 345-353(9)

The history of two different ways of conceptualising the relationship 
between man and machines is traced. On the one hand, the 
machine-as-slave, going back to Aristotle, describes the relation as a 
purely instrumental one, denying the machine any agency of its own and 
reducing it to a part or extension of the human subject. On the other 
hand, the machine-as-servant stresses a horizontal relation instead of a 
hierarchical subordination, and it distributes agency more evenly 
between the different actants. Those, in turn, lose their 
distinctiveness: with the discovery of the category of communication in 
Butler'€™s Erewhon, man as well as machines become capable of exchanging 
information, and with the concept of the "€˜margin of indetermination"€™ 
introduced by Simondon, machines acquire degrees of freedom hitherto 
reserved for humans. The role of traps in the history of technology is 

The Extended Body of Stephen Hawking
Mialet, Hélène
pp. 354-371(18)

Science Studies has shown that scientific knowledge is above all about
practice. But what happens when a scientist, such as Stephen Hawking,
does not have the use of his hands, does not–or cannot–draw pictures and
perform many-page-long calculations on paper? Does everything happen "€œin
his head"€? Are theories produced "€œtheoretically"€? Yet, though this famous
example of a mind dematerialized seems to confirm the cliché better than
anyone could hope for, it actually shatters it. Drawing on an extensive and
in-depth series of interviews with Hawking, his students, and his 
colleagues, this paper aims to reconstruct the human, material and 
machine-based network that enables Hawking to do physics. I call this 
network his extended body.

pp. 372-376(5)
Cronin, James G. R.
Rev. of Beyond the Finite: the Sublime in Art and Science. Edited by 
Roald Hoffmann and Iain Boyd Whyte

Willard McCarty, FRAI / Professor of Humanities Computing & Director of
the Doctoral Programme, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College
London; Professor, School of Humanities and Communication Arts,
University of Western Sydney; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
(www.isr-journal.org); Editor, Humanist
(www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist/); www.mccarty.org.uk/

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