Lewis Mumford was an American historian, sociologist, philosopher of technology, and literary critic.
41 Facts About Lewis Mumford
Lewis Mumford made signal contributions to social philosophy, American literary and cultural history, and the history of technology.
Lewis Mumford was influenced by the work of Scottish theorist Sir Patrick Geddes and worked closely with his associate the British sociologist Victor Branford.
Lewis Mumford studied at the City College of New York and The New School for Social Research, but became ill with tuberculosis and never finished his degree.
Lewis Mumford was discharged in 1919 and became associate editor of The Dial, an influential modernist literary journal.
Lewis Mumford later worked for The New Yorker where he wrote architectural criticism and commentary on urban issues.
Lewis Mumford was a close friend of the psychologist Henry Murray, with whom he corresponded extensively from 1928 until the 1960s on topics including Herman Melville, psychology, American values and culture, and the nature of the self.
Lewis Mumford was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1941 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1947.
In 1963, Lewis Mumford received the Frank Jewett Mather Award for art criticism from the College Art Association.
In 1975 Lewis Mumford was made an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Lewis Mumford served as the architectural critic for The New Yorker magazine for over 30 years.
Lewis Mumford died at the age of 94 at his home in Amenia, New York, on January 26,1990.
Lewis Mumford never forgot the importance of air quality, of food availability, of the quality of water, or the comfort of spaces, because all these elements had to be respected if people were to thrive.
Indeed, Lewis Mumford considered the human brain from this perspective, characterizing it as hyperactive, a good thing in that it allowed humanity to conquer many of nature's threats, but potentially a bad thing if it were not occupied in ways that stimulated it meaningfully.
Lewis Mumford believed that what defined humanity, what set human beings apart from other animals, was not primarily our use of tools but our use of language.
Lewis Mumford was convinced that the sharing of information and ideas amongst participants of primitive societies was completely natural to early humanity, and had obviously been the foundation of society as it became more sophisticated and complex.
Lewis Mumford had hopes for a continuation of this process of information "pooling" in the world as humanity moved into the future.
Lewis Mumford contends that these goals work against technical perfection, durability, social efficiency, and overall human satisfaction.
Lewis Mumford was deeply concerned with the relationship between technics and bioviability.
The latter term, not used by Lewis Mumford, characterizes an area's capability to support life up through its levels of complexity.
Lewis Mumford did not believe it was necessary for bioviability to collapse as technics advanced because he held it was possible to create technologies that functioned in an ecologically responsible manner, and he called that sort of technology biotechnics.
Lewis Mumford believed that biotechnic consciousness was emerging as a later stage in the evolution of Darwinian thinking about the nature of human life.
Lewis Mumford used the term biotechnics in the later sections of The Pentagon of Power, written in 1970.
When Lewis Mumford described biotechnics, automotive and industrial pollution had become dominant technological concerns, along with the fear of nuclear annihilation.
Lewis Mumford recognized that technology had even earlier produced a plethora of hazards, and that it would do so into the future.
Lewis Mumford is stating implicitly, as others would later state explicitly, that contemporary human life understood in its ecological sense is out of balance because the technical parts of its ecology have spiraled out of control, driven by forces peculiar to them rather than constrained by the needs of the species that created them.
Lewis Mumford believed that biotechnics was the emerging answer and the only hope that could be set out against the problem of megatechnics.
Lewis Mumford was an avid reader of Alfred North Whitehead's philosophy of the organism.
Lewis Mumford commonly criticized modern America's transportation networks as being "monotechnic" in their reliance on cars.
Lewis Mumford explains that the thousands of maimed and dead each year as a result of automobile accidents are a ritual sacrifice the American society makes because of its extreme reliance on highway transport.
Lewis Mumford explains that meticulous attention to accounting and standardization, and elevation of military leaders to divine status, are spontaneous features of megamachines throughout history.
Lewis Mumford cites the overwhelming prevalence of quantitative accounting records among surviving historical fragments, from ancient Egypt to Nazi Germany.
Lewis Mumford collectively refers to people willing to carry out placidly the extreme goals of these megamachines as "Eichmanns".
One of the better-known studies of Lewis Mumford is of the way the mechanical clock was developed by monks in the Middle Ages and subsequently adopted by the rest of society.
Harshly critical of urban sprawl, Lewis Mumford argues that the structure of modern cities is partially responsible for many social problems seen in western society.
Lewis Mumford uses the example of the medieval city as the basis for the "ideal city," and claims that the modern city is too close to the Roman city which ended in collapse; if the modern city carries on in the same vein, Lewis Mumford argues, then it will meet the same fate as the Roman city.
Lewis Mumford is among the first urban planning scholars who paid serious attention to religion in the planning field.
Lewis Mumford had an influence on the American environmental movement, with thinkers like Barry Commoner and Bookchin being influenced by his ideas on cities, ecology and technology.
Lewis Mumford's influence is evident in the work of some artists including Berenice Abbott's photographs of New York City in the late 1930s.
Lewis Mumford was an inspiration for Ellsworth Toohey, the antagonist in Ayn Rand's novel The Fountainhead.