Why Prometheus?

April 23rd, 2004

Posted by: admin

In creating this site I sought a name that would convey its basic purpose: addressing and commenting on the complex nature of science and technology decision-making. The name should, of course, also be catchy and maybe even fun. Hence, Prometheus became a weblog in addition to Greek god.

In Greek mythology Prometheus, which may be translated to “forethought”, is closely linked with the cultural and technological development of mankind. The Library of Apollodoros states that Prometheus created man from water and earth (1.7.1). Furthermore, at the feast at Mekone, Prometheus tricks Zeus into taking the lesser share of sacrifice, leaving the best portion to man. As punishment for this subterfuge Zeus withholds fire from mankind, only to have Prometheus steal it and present it to mankind. I suggest that this widely known act represents a very early example of science and technology policy.

Prometheus, then, conjures the ideas of intellectual growth and progress that this site hopes to reflect. Yet, Hesiod’s Theogony introduces Prometheus, the embodyment of science and technology, as “subtle and devious” (511)… for, like science and technology, Prometheus carries some negative consequences for mankind when, in retaliation for the theft of fire, Zeus unleashes evil on mankind through the creation of Pandora.

The Prometheus weblog, then, will tackle the benefits, risks, successes and failures of science and technology. Our pages will reflect the good and bad, and suggest science and technology policy for a modern day Prometheus.

The weblog will also steadfastly avoid eagles…

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