The importance of Interdisciplinary Studies

In the second half of Johnson’s book, he spends the majority of his time discussing the importance and uniqueness of Priestley’s interdisciplinary studies. Priestly was a man who likes many of our found fathers not only explored science but also commented on the political and religious climate of his time. As stated on page 147, “We cannot fully understand Priestly- or the wider context of social change during that period, particularly among his compatriots across the pond- without appreciating the convergence of these three intellectual paths.” (Johnson 147). The idea that governments should fear air pumps and electrical machines just as much as any flaw in their constitutions is a unique way to look at the climate Priestly lived in. He argues on page 209 that America should invest in its education instead of war because “England and France would have much to fear from an air pump if the current administration would only see fit to endow it’s schools with the technology.” (Johnson 210).



When discussing what a technological fix is it is important to first get a base definition of the term. The reading goes into depth on the origins and potential meanings of the word but at its simplest, it means that “Technological innovation could confidently resolve any social issue” Johnston (48). After World War II there was a spirit of optimism and hope for a better life from all Americans. Eager to deliver on this political and economic elites turned to science to better the lives of Americans. In This period of technological advances such as washers and dryers changed the standard of living throughout America. However, Huesemann and Huesmann warn of the dangers of technological innovation specifically in regard to the environment. The best example he gives of this danger is on page 6 when he discusses how “environmental pollution caused by thousands of synthetic organic chemicals that do not naturally occur anywhere in nature is likely to have severe negative effects on plants, animals, and ecosystems.” (Huesemann, 6). Building off of this I think it is wise to take caution when exploring potential techno-fixes and make sure to have a full understanding of how it will affect us and our environment.


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