By Carolyn Merchant
Independent Nature investigates the heritage of nature as an lively, usually unruly strength in pressure 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. independent Nature specializes in the historical past of unpredictability, why it used to be an issue for the traditional international throughout the clinical Revolution, and why it's a challenge for at the present time. The paintings is decided within the context of vignettes approximately unpredictable occasions corresponding to the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, the Bubonic Plague, the Lisbon Earthquake, and efforts to appreciate and are expecting the elements and usual mess ups. This publication is a perfect textual content for classes at the surroundings, environmental heritage, 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
23 It is the tension between order and disorder that underlies the problem of nature as law, order, and stability (hence rational and predictable), and nature as disorder, willful, and unruly (therefore unpredictable and uncontrollable). Nature is both creator and dissolver, generator and disrupter, rational and irrational, consistent and inconsistent. Robert David Clark has written extensively about Natura creatrix, or nature as agent, active force, and actress in Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura.
Natura is a creative unity, overseeing a rationally understood, lawful and orderly process of creation and dissolution. Atoms exist eternally; they are not created ex nihilo. If created out of nothing, then anything would be possible. 26 Natura fuses the activities of the aethereal heavens (aether) and the fruitful earth (terra). Rain from the heavens (pater aether) nourishes and gives rise to new life on earth (mater terra). The sky father’s celestial semen fertilizes the earth mother. In the process of creation, however, nature not only encourages and makes possible the birth of new things, “she” also intervenes, using force on recalcitrant matter to make it produce.
775–776 (Latin, vol. 651–652). 17 Marcus Fabius Calvus van Ravenna was an author and translator of the works of Hippocrates. He first translated the Hippocratic Corpus into Latin in Rome, 1525. See Ira M. 23. .