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

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Cambridge University Press, 1986 - Social Science - 268 pages
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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' Bartolomé de Las Casas; and the Jesuit historians José de Acosta and Joseph François 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.
 

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Contents

The problem of recognition
10
The image of the barbarian
15
The theory of natural slavery
27
From natures slaves to natures children
57
The rhetorician and the theologians Juan Gines de Sepulveda and his dialogue Democrates secundus
109
A programme for comparative ethnology 1 Bartolome de Las Casas
119
A programme for comparative ethnology 2 Jose de Acosta
146
Joseph Francois Lafitau comparative ethnology and the language of symbols
198
Notes
210
Bibliography
247
Index
265
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About the author (1986)

Anthony Pagden is Harry C. Black Professor of History at the Johns Hopkins University.

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