The Simon Stevin series is a series in which PhD members of the 4TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology publish their dissertations.
This series in the philosophy and ethics of technology is named after the Dutch / Flemish natural philosopher, scientist and engineer Simon Stevin. He was an extraordinary versatile person. He published, among other things, on arithmetic, accounting, geometry, mechanics, hydrostatics, astronomy, theory of measurement, civil engineering, the theory of music, and civil citizenship. He wrote the very first treatise on logic in Dutch, which he considered to be a superior language for scientific purposes. The relation between theory and practice is a main topic in his work. In addition to his theoretical publications, he held a large number of patents, and was actively involved as an engineer in the building of windmills, harbours, and fortifications for the Dutch prince Maurits. He is famous for having constructed large sailing carriages.
Little is known about his personal life. He was probably born in 1548 in Bruges (Flanders) and went to Leiden in 1581, where he took up his studies at the university two years later. His work was published between 1581 and 1617. He was an early defender of the Copernican worldview, which did not make him popular in religious circles. He died in 1620, but the exact date and the place of his burial are unknown. Philosophically he was a pragmatic rationalist for whom every phenomenon, however mysterious, ultimately had a scientific explanation. Hence his dictum ‘Wonder is no Wonder,’ which he used on the cover of several of his own books.