By Carolyn Merchant
Independent Nature investigates the historical past of nature as an lively, usually unruly strength in rigidity with nature as a rational, logical order from precedent days to the clinical Revolution of the 17th century. in addition to next advances in mechanics, hydrodynamics, thermodynamics, and electromagnetism, nature got here to be perceived as an orderly, rational, actual global which may be engineered, managed, and controlled. self sustaining Nature makes a speciality of the historical past of unpredictability, why it used to be an issue for the traditional international during the clinical Revolution, and why it's a challenge for this present day. The paintings is decided within the context of vignettes approximately unpredictable occasions reminiscent of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, the Bubonic Plague, the Lisbon Earthquake, and efforts to appreciate and expect the elements and traditional failures. This ebook is a perfect textual content for classes at the surroundings, environmental heritage, heritage of technology, or the philosophy of technology.
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Extra resources for Autonomous Nature: Problems of Prediction and Control From Ancient Times to the Scientific Revolution
Schaeffer and Louis Theodore, Probability and Statistics Applications for Environmental Science (Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2007). 174. 10 Botkin, Moon in the Nautilus Shell, Ch. 157–180, esp. 179–180. com/2013/08/15/its-not-solar-and-wind-but-fossil-fuelsnuclear-and-biofuels-that-reap-the-most-subsidy-benefits/. 286, 285, 179. 11, 12, 5. 14 Justin Gilless, New York Times, May 13, 2013. html. 17700. For background on the Mauna Loa readings see Botkin, Moon in the Nautilus Shell, Ch. 280. On “Earth in the Anthropocene,” and the concepts of threshold, tipping points, and abrupt change see Jennifer Wells, Complexity and Sustainability (New York: Routledge, 2013), Ch.
The One would be interpreted by Plato as the unchanging pure Form, by Christianity as God, and by the mechanistic philosophy of the Scientific Revolution as God’s unchanging laws of nature. E. Heraclitus of Ephesus deposited at the temple of Artemis his untitled book containing all his knowledge. Among its maxims are: “Nature loves to hide”—Nature hides “her” secrets from humans. And, “You cannot step twice into the same river for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you,”—Everything is in constant flux and ever changing.
I also discuss Aristotle’s merging of the creating and created within each individual object in the natural world and Lucretius’s concept of Natura Creatrix as a creating deity. Both Lucretius and Plotinus portrayed Nature as lawful and orderly, but sometimes rebellious and disorderly, hence unpredictable and uncontrollable. These ideas would be elaborated in ensuing centuries as Christianity drew on and integrated Greek and Roman ideas with those of the Bible and in the concepts of experimentation and mathematization as ways of predicting and controlling autonomous nature developed during the Scientific Revolution.
Autonomous Nature: Problems of Prediction and Control From Ancient Times to the Scientific Revolution by Carolyn Merchant