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Traces on the Rhodian Shore: Nature and Culture in Western Thought from Ancient Times to the End of the Eighteenth Century

Glacken, Clarence J.

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ISBN 10: 0520032160 / ISBN 13: 9780520032163
Published by University of California Press
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1976. Paperback. Num Pages: 800 pages, illustrations. BIC Classification: HPCA; HPCB; JFCX. Category: (P) Professional & Vocational; (UP) Postgraduate, Research & Scholarly; (UU) Undergraduate. Dimension: 227 x 156 x 37. Weight in Grams: 1118. Nature and Culture in Western Thought from Ancient Times to the End of the Eighteenth Century. 800 pages, illustrations. Cateogry: (P) Professional & Vocational; (UP) Postgraduate, Research & Scholarly; (UU) Undergraduate. BIC Classification: HPCA; HPCB; JFCX. Dimension: 227 x 156 x 37. Weight: 1068. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780520032163

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Title: Traces on the Rhodian Shore: Nature and ...

Publisher: University of California Press

Binding: Soft cover

Book Condition: New

About this title


In the history of Western thought, men have persistently asked three questions concerning the habitable earth and their relationships to it. Is the earth, which is obviously a fit environment for man and other organic life, a purposefully made creation? Have its climates, its relief, the configuration of its continents influenced the moral and social nature of individuals, and have they had an influence in molding the character and nature of human culture? In his long tenure of the earth, in what manner has man changed it from its hypothetical pristine condition? From the time of the Greeks to our own, answers to these questions have been and are being given so frequently and so continually that we may restate them in the form of general ideas: the idea of a designed earth; the idea of environmental influence; and the idea of man as a geographic agent. These ideas have come from the general thought and experience of men, but the first owes much to mythology, theology, and philosophy; the second, to pharmaceutical lore, medicine, and weather observation; the third, to the plans, activities, and skills of everyday life such as cultivation, carpentry, and weaving. The first two ideas were expressed frequently in antiquity, the third less so, although it was implicit in many discussions which recognized the obvious fact that men through their arts, sciences, and techniques had changed the physical environment about them. This magnum opus of Clarence Glacken explores all of these questions from Ancient Times to the End of the Eighteenth Century.


Western thought, writes Clarence Glacken in this magisterial, highly influential study, centers on three questions: Was the earth made for a reason? Does the earth shape human life? How have humans affected the earth? Tracing these three questions in turn deep into antiquity, Glacken shows how varied the answers have been. Aristotle, for instance, argued that there was purpose in nature, with each thing created for the benefit of something else--especially humans. Christian thinkers extended Aristotle's ideas, although, as Glacken warns, it is incorrect to assume that this presupposes a hostility toward or indifference to the natural world. Glacken closes his tome with the advent of modern science, when theological questions gave way in large measure to more modest, empirical questions of form and process. --Gregory McNamee

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