This is a course blog for the members of EH236 at the University of South Alabama, Spring 2006.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Right Time, Right Place

In the beginning of Jaucourt’s article on invention he says, “We owe inventions to time, pure chance, to lucky and unforeseen speculations, mechanical instincts, as well as to the patience and resourcefulness of those who work.” In the next sentence he goes on to say that the inventions of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries did not come as a result of “wits” or philosophers, but from men who possess a “mechanical instinct”. From these few statements, one can understand that Jaucourt does not believe that it is only geniuses who make inventive contributions to society. He believes that time is essential to invention, and he seeks to prove this point throughout the rest of the article. Jaucourt gives many examples of inventions brought about by earlier discoveries such as spectacles, crystal mirrors, Faience earthenware, windmills, and paper . He says, “early discoveries happily produce their first fruit, and often thanks to men who remain unknown.” In other words, early discoveries lead to invention, and unfortunately only the inventor gets credit for all the work. Jaucourt says that scientific discoveries come from the labors of preceding centuries, and he also says that many of the discoveries that are considered modern, are actually only “old theories, put forward, once again, and more clearly.” In one paragraph, Jaucourt uses the compass as an example. He explains how the compass evolved from a mere magnetized needle to an actual compass. He illustrates through this example how an early discovery in time evolves into a more modern invention. He proves that it is not a work of genius that leads to invention, but the combination of patience, resourcefulness, luck, mechanical instinct, and time. Jaucourt says in his article that inventions are the children of time. By saying all this and providing numerous examples, Jaucourt argues the point well that inventions are the result of time and not genius.


Blogger Danielle Bruhl said...

I think you did a good job thoroughly explaining Jacourt's views regarding invention in relation to time. The quotes and information to which you referred and used to support your response were well chosen. I do not see anything wrong with the structure nor the content of your response.
The manner in which you elaborate on Jacourt's defense of the importance of time in invention leads me to believe you agree with his arguments. Am I right?

10:04 PM  

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