By Carolyn Merchant
Independent Nature investigates the background of nature as an lively, usually unruly strength in pressure with nature as a rational, logical order from precedent days to the medical 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 reliant Nature makes a speciality of the heritage of unpredictability, why it was once an issue for the traditional international throughout the medical Revolution, and why it's a challenge for this present day. The paintings is decided within the context of vignettes approximately unpredictable occasions resembling the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, the Bubonic Plague, the Lisbon Earthquake, and efforts to appreciate and expect the elements and ordinary mess ups. This e-book is a perfect textual content for classes at the surroundings, environmental background, background of technological know-how, or the philosophy of technology.
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Extra info for Autonomous Nature: Problems of Prediction and Control From Ancient Times to the Scientific Revolution
The physis or nature of a thing or a human being included not only its physical appearance, but also its powers and capacities. Practitioners should know both the nature of an individual and the powers of foods and drinks in order to reduce the strength of those that were too forceful or to increase them if they were too weak. ” In such cases nature does not yield the clues that could lead to a diagnosis and these must be forcibly extracted in order to perform the art of medicine. It is the techne itself that invents the tools of extraction.
1 The experience of Pliny the Younger graphically illustrates the way in which peoples of the ancient world lived within autonomous nature. Volcanos, earthquakes, hurricanes, and disease, although not everyday events, loomed as exemplars of the wrath of the gods and of worldly chaos—unpredictable events over which humanity exercised no control. 1 Vesuvius in Eruption, with a View over the Islands in the Bay of Naples. Joseph Wright of Derby (1734–1797), ca. 1776–1780. Copyright Tate, London, 2015.
Mathematical analysis of pure forms and logic was one approach; experimentation and technology (techne or art) the other. Plato’s divine Craftsman exemplifies the first approach, Hippocrates’ earthly Craftsman the second. ) account of the creation of nature comes from the Timaeus (On Physis), one of his later dialogues. Here the tensions between creating and created, order and disorder, being and becoming, quantities and qualities play out in the form of idealism. Creating is done by an Intellect (Nous)—the Demiurge (dêmiourgos) or Divine Craftsman—who creates the universe (kosmos) or world by imitating eternally existing, unchanging forms.