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Natural economy

(1,658 words)

Author(s): Biehler, Birgit
1. “Economy” of nature as a cultural conceptJust as human beings frequently imagined their gods anthropomorphically, so too have they used terminology from human culture in their observations and descriptions of nature. An apparently extra-human nature, observed by this culture, could be conceptualized in familiar terms. An example is the application of the term “household” or “household economy” as an orderly whole, methodically uniting the most diverse functions, to nature, which then appears as a co…
Date: 2020-04-06


(9,811 words)

Author(s): Sieglerschmidt, Jörn | Biehler, Birgit
1. Definition and etymologyThe natural philosopher Robert Boyle, concerned that the idea of nature as an active agent was infringing on that of the omnipotence of God, complained in his Free Inquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature (1686) that “the generality of men, though they will acknowledge that nature is inferior and subordinate to God, do yet appear to regard her more than him” [32. 347, 350]. Paraphrasing Boyle, the chemist Johann von Löwenstern-Kunckel around 1700 derided the uncertainty of the word “nature” in use, while making a statement…
Date: 2020-04-06