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Catastrophizing – Materialism and the Making of Disaster - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Catastrophizing: Materialism and the Making of Disaster

Gerard Passannante


Catastrophizing argues that the seismic encounter between early modern culture and materialism (the view that the world is composed of nothing but matter) can be understood through a history of mental disasters. As early modern thinkers pondered the insensible causes and material stuff of the cosmos, they both conjured up disasters out of thin air and responded to those disasters as if they were befalling them. From Leonardo da Vinci’s imaginative experiments with nature’s destructive forces to the fevered fantasies of doomsday astrologers—from the self-fulfilling prophecies of Shakespeare’s g ... More

Keywords: catastrophizing, philosophy, catastrophe, disaster, materialism, early modern, Renaissance, affect, intellectual history

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2019 Print ISBN-13: 9780226612218
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2019 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226612355.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Gerard Passannante, author
University of Maryland, College Park