Critical thinking exercise

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In Technology and Ideology: The Case of the Telegraph James Carey uses what might appear to be just a piece of technology to suggest that scientific advance can influence not only the manner in which people communicate with one another, but also what it actually means to be human.


In a sense Carey uses some of the ideas of the Enlightenment in reverse: thus the argument that systematic, scientific thinking could provide truths and laws about even the most complex of human relationships is reversed by Carey. He suggests that tracing the influence of the invention of a communication device must rely upon more than a seeking for the objective truth.
But the method that Carey uses for convincing his readers actually borrows a lot from the scientific method. He argues that the telegraph shifted the nature of human culture because it freed communication from transportation. Until this point, messages between individuals (or between countries) needed to be transported physically from place to place, either by foot, horse or latterly, the railroad. The telegraph allowed messages to move independently of other forms of transportation. Thus Carey looks at something which was fairly obvious in a new manner: - just as a scientist will explore phenomena that are seen by human beings every day in a new manner in order to explain them.
The scientific method continues as the telegraphy is seen as a driver for a number of actions and reactions within society. It led to the eventual disappearance of certain kinds of writing, and even changed the manner in which human beings saw time. ...
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