Tuesday, January 1, 2013

John Donne - An Anatomy of the World (excerpt)



And new philosophy calls all in doubt,

The element of fire is quite put out,
The sun is lost, and th'earth, and no man's wit
Can well direct him where to look for it.
And freely men confess that this world's spent,
When in the planets and the firmament
They seek so many new; they see that this
Is crumbled out again to his atomies.
'Tis all in pieces, all coherence gone,
All just supply, and all relation; [via]



John Donnes 1611ad poem refers to the huge philosophical implications of the Copernican revolution. The earth is no longer at the center of the universe -  "the sun is lost, and th'earth".  The universe is no longer ordered and harmonious and so mankind can no longer look to the cosmos as a guide to earthly morality. "Tis all in pieces, all coherence gone, All just supply, and all relation".  This was the start of the shift away from focusing on ontology and towards making epistemology primary.  Suddenly, amid the ruins of the Ptolemaic model, asking 'how do you know that?' struck people as a very good idea indeed.

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 
;