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Re: PH Evolution (Rondinaro)
by Nemonemini
28 September 2002 12:19 UTC
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Luke noted a post on H-World dealing with Jared Diamond and environmental 
determinism. Here's a short piece of the discussion, which also invokes a 
question of capitalism, metahistory/metanarratives. Here's part of a reply. I 
can start over and address these issues here.

The question [of environmental determinism] depends on what context we are 
referring to. In fact, all our theories tend to be simplistic, not just 
environmental determinism. The question of what 'causes' the rise of the 
modern is one of those. My approach is to place the problem in a greater 
Environmental influences, if not determinism, are legion, of course. There is 
certainly something to be said for the geographical advantages of Europe, at  
particular time, viz. the staging of the modern. But let me note that Europe 
was very close to the source areas of civilization, e.g. Egypt, Mesopotamia, 
and received many influences via diffusion, yet it never took off unitl very 
late in world history. There is a clearly different account needed.  
The continent of Africa, by the way, remainded very difficult to explore 
until the discovery of quinine. The accounts even as late as the nineteenth 
century shows very good examples indeed of environmental influences!  
Also, consider the simple fact that England was an island on its history.

I think that a real account of a 'universal history' will suggest a process 
that moves both with and beyond environment. There is a directional factor, 
and this lies beyond the issue of environment. 

john landon

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