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British Weather and the Climate of Enlightenment$
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Jan Golinski

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226302058

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226302065.001.0001

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Climate and Civilization

Climate and Civilization

(p.170) 6 Climate and Civilization
British Weather and the Climate of Enlightenment
University of Chicago Press

This chapter investigates the climatic accounts of the development of human civilization. Civilization did not allow people to escape the influences of their climate. James Dunbar acknowledged an influence of climate on society as a whole. The interventions by Alexander Wilson and William Falconer in the debate on climate and civilization are a reminder that medical men were concerned about the impact of the weather on human life. The castigation of extravagance and immoderation became a standard topic of medical writings about the hazards of colonial climates. Climate was also invoked as a way of trying to account for the diversity of humanity and for the many stages people seemed to occupy on the ladder of social development. Human beings were seen as the products of nature, even as they insisted on their prerogative to remold the surrounding milieu.

Keywords:   climate, human civilization, James Dunbar, Alexander Wilson, William Falconer, human life, medical writings, humanity

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