Friday, December 16, 2011

Discussion Questions for Gifts of Athena

Discussion Outline for September 20, 2005 Book Club Discussion re
Gifts of Athena by Joel Mokyr:

1. Discuss the application of useful knowledge to development of
successful organization (e.g., law firm, university, bank)

2. There has never been a time when the transmission of, and access
to, useful knowledge has been cheaper. Why do countries with abundant
resources continue to fall behind the economic tiger counties?

3. Discuss the problem of acceptance of new technologies based on
concern of the unknown (e.g., development of agricultural hybrids
resistant to glyphosate herbicides, so-called frankenfood). Is this a
problem in which propositional knowledge lacks "tightness"?

4. What mechanisms of technological evolution did the Lunar Society
either use or contribute?

5. Discuss how pragmatists advanced useful knowledge (e.g.,
advancement of the acceptance of useful knowledge in a society).

6. Discuss how society will think about the evolution of recent
technology with social concern (e.g., genetic testing in selection of
offspring, retinal identification of people in public spaces,
genetically-based racial identity)

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