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Although each of the different components, or elements, of the discourse had developed somewhat separately from one another, by the seventeenth century, the different elements had co me to be shared by a growing number of ideologues and philosophers. The dis course has since provided a common way of talking about science as more than a unified theory or universal methodology, and different writers have identified different aspects as being the most significant. At a discursive level, modern science is a set of worldview assumptions, or beliefs, that came to be consolidated in the seventeenth century and that can be depicted schematically as a particular form of knowledge that has been characterized in different terms by different authors (see Table 3).

More generally, there was a kind of cultural dynamism afoot, mixing militarism with mercantilism, curiosity with enterprise, expansiveness with acquisitiveness, and, perhaps most significant in the long run, natural observation with religious devotion. In the second half of the fifteenth century, among the so-called artist-engineers of the Renaissance, that mixture of motivations served to inspire some of the greatest achievements that human beings have ever accomplished. They drafted and designed machines and weapons, experimented with medicines and materials, and applied the ideas of optics and mechanics to practical 30 • Hubris and Hybrids pursuits, in addition to producing the innumerable drawings and paintings and sculptures for which they are perhaps best known.

In other parts of the world, the spheres of thought and action, scholarship and craftsmanship, and, for that matter, science and religion remained separated. The attempts to apply science to practieal work were few and far between, and the barriers across society-in status, prestige, income, and class-were stronger and more or less insurmountable. Joseph Needham, who discussed these matters at length in his pioneering studies on Chinese science and technology, emphasized the difference in contextuallocations between scholars and craftsmen in China and Europe.

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