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Philosophy 

I saw a rainbow while walking the dogs this morning. Rainbows are amazing. But for once that’s not my point.

We’ve only had a full physical model for how rainbows work for a bit over 300 years. Yet the name of the thing makes it clear that we always knew it had something to do with water drops in the sky.

Is there a name for this modern conceit that we as a society were all ignorant unthinking hicks prior to the Enlightenment [sic]?

(See also: Antikythera Device.)

Philosophy 

@futzle somehow this reminds me of an argument i got in once where i was like "pre-modern people had a lot of knowledge of the stars, position of moon and sun etc. that we've lost touch with as a culture" and my interlocutor was like pfft who cares the stars are useless it's not like anybody _used_ that knowledge for anything.

which i guess is just to say: it certainly is a strongly held conceit.

Philosophy 

@futzle i wonder if "presentism" sort of covers this?

Philosophy 

@brennen *goes to look it up* I see what you mean, but I feel there is a more specific name for this chauvinism.

Philosophy 

@futzle I don't know that there's a specific word beyond conceit, but Petrarch sure has a lot to answer for in creating the "dark ages" to make us all feel better about our "superior" knowledge

Philosophy 

@futzle
Are you aware of clickspring's youtube channel?

Philosophy 

@Steveg58 No, I don't spend a lot of time on YouTube, I don't much like absorbing information over video.

Philosophy 

@futzle
Worth having a look at. He's a Sydneysider who's been building an Antikythera mechanism and using it to investigate construction methods available to the ancient Greeks. Also it is clockmaking porn of the first degree!

Philosophy 

@futzle Popper's critique of irrationalism and historicism maybe? There are also recent history books re-evaluating the Middle Ages.

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