The Promethean Illusion: The Western Belief in Human Mastery of Nature

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McFarland, Sep 28, 2010 - Political Science - 272 pages
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This book explores two contradictory realities: our continuing belief that nature is subject to our willful control and nature's refusal to abide by this belief. It investigates particular aspects of modern science and spotlights the impact Newtonian science had upon the Western world. It then critically assesses twentieth century developments in science, presenting a number of biological and ecological case studies that document the various limitations that the natural world places upon human knowledge. The analysis argues against programmatic proposals to control nature via genetic engineering and planet management.
 

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Contents

Preface
1
Introduction
5
1 Mastery in the Making
13
2 Authorizing Human Dominion
33
3 Ironies of Scientific Progress
58
4 Science in the Land of Sometimes and Perhaps
89
5 Elusive Elements of Organic Change
116
6 Ecological Detective Stories
149
7 Planetary Thinking
174
Conclusion
207
Notes
227
Bibliography
247
Index
257
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About the author (2010)

Bob Tostevin, who received his doctorate in political theory at York University in Toronto, teaches history at the Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City, Missouri.

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