Abstract

Abstract:

The Jesuit Who Wanted to Control the Climate: Père Castel and the Religious Roots of the Anthropocene In the 1720s, the Jesuit natural philosopher Louis-Bertrand Castel (1688–1757) developed a natural philosophical system that granted unprecedented geological agency to man. An analysis of this system shows that metaphysical assumptions about God, man, and nature, together with theological problems raised by the mechanical philosophy, enabled the emergence of a conceptual counterpart to the Anthropocene long before humanity’s global impact was readily measurable. Put in context, Castel’s system reveals an unexpected path through which the local and regional climate change theories of the seventeenth century evolved into grand ambitions of global, environmental mastery in the late eighteenth.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6598
Print ISSN
0026-7910
Pages
pp. 931-952
Launched on MUSE
2017-12-22
Open Access
No
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