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The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution Reprint Edition

3.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0062505958
ISBN-10: 0062505955
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Brilliantly conceived and richly researched."-- Susan Griffin"Offers a deeply perceptive discussion of the perennial debate between the organic and the mechanistic view of Nature and Life."-- Walter Pagel"A complex and rewarding work. . . Through unearthing the historical roots of our current crisis, Merchant has. . . deepened and enriched our understanding of both our past and present."-- "Environmental Ethics""[Merchant] continually forges strong links between the events of centuries long past ant the dilemmas faced by 20th-century industrialized societies."-- "Environmental Review""A work of prodigious scholarship. . .A crucial first step toward illuminating the complexities of the woman/nature relationship as it informs the dominant mechanistic paradigm of the modern age."-- "Women's Studies International Quarterly"

About the Author


Carolyn Merchant, Ph.D., is professor of environmental history, philosophy, and ethics in the Department of Conservation and Resource Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (January 10, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062505955
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062505958
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a book on the important topic of ecofeminism. The author wants to show how the modern destruction of nature and our environment ties in with the subjugation of women during the same period. However, to understand how these assaults occurred, we have to first examine the history of ideas. As Merchant shows, these destructive attitudes toward women and nature reflect changing ideas of how we think about people and our place in the world. What characterizes this new way of thinking which began about 500 years ago is the idea that trees, colors, ideas, people, in short, the entire cosmos, are really just the mechanical actions of matter in motion, no matter how much things may seem otherwise. From this modern perspective, the natural world and everything in it really amounts to a gigantic machine in motion, thereby debasing our ordinary experience of that world. Nonetheless, this reduction of things to numbers greatly helps the rise of modern science, especially technology, by showing how mathematics can be applied concretely and experimentally to just about everything there is. Moreover, during this period, how people think about society also changes. Society too is conceived as a colossal machine, a human one, possessing definite structures, with components conceived as self-contained and independent little atoms, who associate with one another not because of inner need but because of external advantage. Thus, moral philosophy too, follows modern thinking by becoming a credo of "it's okay for the selfish man to get ahead in life", while economic science becomes a means of determining how we can all get ahead without destroying the social fabric.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Merchant sets the record straight in this powerful, straightforward book. She illustrates the abuses of political power that drove the scientific revolution, dethrones its "father," Sir Francis Bacon, and unravels the presumption of the scientific, paternal myth. This scholarly book provides the reader with the knowledge to ask the right questions and demand answers: about ecology, nature, the economics of science, and the torture and sexualization of the feminine. And even better, Merchant gifts us with the opportunity to imagine something better.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book for a women's studies class. Some chapters were hard to get through but most of the book was absolutely facinating.
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Format: Paperback
Merchant's book is the only one out there which incorporates the history of environmental degradation with the history of ideas and ideology. I had never considered the power of "mechanism" as an ideology; I had assumed it was an objective account of natural processes as they actually occur. So, that was a good point the book brings into the center of the discussion. But the problem is that this idea of mechanism is inadequately theorized in this book. Where did it come from? How did it become the authoritative worldview? I read Merchant's "Radical Ecology" published 20 years later, and the idea of mechanism is still underdeveloped here too. The world is corpuscular, mechanical, lifeless -- why? Says who? Why do they start saying it? There are links here to Protestantism, but Merchant does not realize this.
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