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The Fall of Natural Man: The American Indian and the Origins of Comparative Ethnology
     

The Fall of Natural Man: The American Indian and the Origins of Comparative Ethnology

by Anthony Pagden
 
This book gives a new interpretation of the reception of the new world by the old. It is the first in-depth study of the pre-Enlightenment methods by which Europeans attempted to describe and classify the American Indian and his society.

Between 1512 and 1724 a simple determinist view of human society was replaced by a more sophisticated relativist approach.

Overview

This book gives a new interpretation of the reception of the new world by the old. It is the first in-depth study of the pre-Enlightenment methods by which Europeans attempted to describe and classify the American Indian and his society.

Between 1512 and 1724 a simple determinist view of human society was replaced by a more sophisticated relativist approach. Anthony Pagden uses new methods of technical analysis, already developed in philosophy and anthropology, to examine four groups of writers who analysed Indian culture: the sixteenth-century theologian, Francisco de Vitoria, and his followers; the 'champion of the Indians' Bartolome de Las Casas; and the Jesuit historians Jose de Acosta and Joseph Francois Lafitau. Dr Pagden explains the sources for their theories and how these conditioned their observations. He also examines for the first time the key terms in each writer's vocabulary -- words such as 'barbarian' and 'civil' -- and the assumptions that lay beneath them.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Pagden's subtle account ... is a model for the history of anthropology altogether. It shows, too, how constant some of the subject's central conceptions have been over the succeeding four hundred years.' The London Review of Books

' ... in the subtlety of its analysis and the richness of its detail The Fall of Natural Man surpasses all previous writings on the subject in any language.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

'The strength and novelty of the book consists in the seriousness with which Pagden reconstructs the classificatory theories of sixteenth-century Iberians and uses them to explain much of their writing on the Indians.' Political Studies

'We must thank Anthony Pagden for having, in this erudite and well-written study, demonstrated in a definitive manner the importance of the ethnological contribution of sixteenth-century Spanish authors.' Revue historique

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521222020
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
09/09/1982
Series:
Cambridge Iberian and Latin American Studies Series
Pages:
270
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.87(d)

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