Militarization was not an external force imposed on the new natural philosophy but an integral part of its rising legitimacy, authority and relevance from the scientific revolution to the present. Not all knowledge was relevant to state power, but states sought out knowledge that was. Modern science and the modern state essentially grew up together in Europe. This means that evolving relationships between socially sanctioned violence and sophisticated technical expertise are as fundamental to human history as is the rise of the sovereign state, the European conquest of much of the rest of the world, or the general unfolding of international disputes that usually falls under the rubric of military or political history.
The historical story she tracks is one of irony, tragedy, brilliance and creativity. The core irony involves human intelligence. The human ability to think—the mind—has long marked human exceptionalism, and differentiated “man” from “ape.” Over the last three centuries, this ability has been weaponized. At the same time, the mind has become a new kind of battlefield, a place where geopolitical forces and technical destruction intersect. Human intelligence is a resource for producing further human injury, as experts, supported by public funding, continue to devise more effective ways to damage bodies, minds, cities and landscapes. And simultaneously, the mind itself is a highly vulnerable target, now more important to war in the twenty-first century in many ways than factories or military installations. Through terroristic style warfare, the human mind has become a weapon that can be turned on itself to generate social and political damage.
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Review by Edna Suarez-Diaz in Isis the Journal of the History of Science Society.
Review by Patrick McCray in Los Angeles Review of Books
Review by Egle Rindzeviciute, Kingston University London: H-Diplo Review Essay 281 on Lindee. Rational Fog: Science and Technology in Modern War; October 20, 2020.
Doyle S. Book review: ‘Rational Fog – Science and Technology in Modern War’; September 24, 2020.