week2.Kaye - Economy and Nature in 14 Century.pdf

week2.Kaye - Economy and Nature in 14 Century.pdf - E...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–4. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
ECONOMY AND NATURE IN THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY Money, market exchange, and the emergence of scienti fi c thought JOEL KAYE Barnard College
Image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Chapter LINKING SCHOLASTIC MODELS OF MONETIZED EXCHANGE TO INNOVATIONS IN FOURTEENTH-CENTURY MATHEMATICS AND NATURAL PHILOSOPHY By the second half of the thirteenth century, the social conception of a world connected by commerce and held together by a monetarily meas- ured and regulated ‘‘ ux and re ux of services’’ was being articulated in the Ethics commentaries of Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas. ¹ As the social process of monetization gathered speed, scholastic thinkers expanded Aristotle’s geometric model of exchange from its base in personal relationships to a supra-personal system of relations in which aggregate needs and decisions determined value. The great claims Aris- totle made for the success of money as a measuring and commensurating medium were expanded as well. In the writings of the most sophisticated economic thinkers of the fourteenth century, the use of money as an instrument of equalization was understood to permit exchangers of unequal social status and occupation,at crossed purposes (each wanting to buy cheap and sell dear), with unequal needs, exchanging unequal goods of unequal value, to arrive, nevertheless, at an approximate equality in their economic transactions – an equality, moreover, su cient to be named ‘‘just.’’ The monetized marketplace was seen to bind all producers and consumers into a geometrically conceived, self-equalizing system, regulated through a shifting market price determined by common need and estimation. In order to show that the experience and comprehension of this social context in uenced the development of scienti fi c thought, I have been following six clusters of insights, organized into category headings, that in my view characterize the most innovative aspects of both economic thought and natural philosophy in the fourteenth century. For the most part these insights appeared fi rst in scholastic economic thought as thinkers sought to comprehend the workings of their monetized society. ¹ Aquinas, Ethics (  ),  a; AlbertusMagnus, Ethics (Borgnet edn.),  b,  a; and see chapter ,   . 
Image of page 2
At times contemporaneously, but most often within a generation or two, re ections of these economic insights then appeared in scholastic natural philosophy applied to the conception and comprehension of nature. In the previous chapter I explored how the insights developed within one of these socioeconomic categories, ‘‘ Money as medium and as measure, ’’ were re ected in speci fi c, proto-scienti fi c innovations within four- teenth-century natural philosophy. In this concluding chapter I do the same for the fi ve remaining categories comprising the new geometric model of economic exchange: the social geometry of monetized society; mathematics and the geometry of exchange; equality, the mean, and
Image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 4
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern