a more rational account of this Androides

To my great joy, Android Market has now made paid apps available in Russia.

I must say, I’ve emptied out my card account on the very first day, sending small sums to all makers of my favorite apps. This is truly great when you do not depend on the corporations and still can make money, showing once again that ‘free as in freedom’ shouldn’t necessarily be also ‘free as in beer’. Yes, I know some of these apps may not be open software. Nevertheless, I am quite thrilled by the microeconomics of the digital bazaar, offering an honest opportunity to reward people for making quality products.

Am dying to see the statistics of how well paid apps will do in Russia.

And yes, like everything cool, Android is sooooo seventeenth century!

Although the OED does not provide a citation earlier than the one from Chambers’ Cyclopedia, there’s a book available on EEBO by Gabriel Naude, a scholar and librarian for Cardinal Mazarin. His The history of magick by way of apology, for all the wise men who have unjustly been reputed magicians, from the Creation, to the present age, makes mention of Albertus’ android,

which hath given occasion to thousands of Fables and impertinencies frequent in Authors.

The ‘fables and impertinencies’ are the belief that the android could speak and was of flesh and bone, whereas Naude states it was probably made of copper. The aim of the chapter is to clear Albertus from  accusations of magic, instead depicting him as a rational and skilful mechanic, although the argumentative logic Gaude uses is still almost fully scholastic. He puts up propositions (could devils speak via the android? what kind of soul could it have if it was rational?) and then refutes them, to arrive at the following conclusion:

…my design is only to shew that he could not by the help of superstitious Magick, make a Statue that should give him answers in an intelligible and articulate voice, upon all the doubts and difficulties he propos’d thereto, as well of things present as to come…

No magic, just pure technology.

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About beggingscholar

I am a scholar of Early Modern English literature and culture, teaching quite a number of English-related subjects at Kazan University, Russia. I am mainly interested in the formation of the Early Modern public sphere, scandals, subversion, non-literary discourses in literature and other forms of destructive creation.
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