ABSTRACT

For three and a half decades Carolyn Merchant’s 1980 book The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution (hereafter TDN) has served as fertile soil in which to grow better understandings of the destructiveness of modern human–nature relationships. Its rich detail on early modern thought about nature provides seemingly endless opportunities for further analysis and interpretation about the ways modern culture and science approach the natural world. Merchant argues that the dual modern imaginaries of nature that depicted it as alternately machine-like and female render it a sphere at once open to manipulation and solicitous to a probing science. But the implications of the mechanistic cosmology promoted by modern natural philosophers extend beyond moral justification for unlimited exploitation and manipulation. Breaking down moral barriers was but a beginning.