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THE LEARNED MAN OF GOOD JUDGMENT: NATURE, NARRATIVE AND WONDER IN JOSE DE ACOSTA'S NATURAL PHILOSOPHY

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Published in 1590, José de Acosta's Historia Natural y Moral de las Indias has been largely excluded from the canon of Western political thought. Focusing on the work's contributions to the ideological development of the early Spanish Empire, this paper turns to Acosta's Historia Natural as a philosophical and empirical exploration of the natural landscape of the NewWorld. Situated between conflicting political demands, the work should be regarded as an exemplary treatise on political judgment in the history of early modern thought. Central to this interpretation is Acosta's negotiation between religious ideals and scientific observation.
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Keywords: Acosta; Imperial Spain; Jesuit Order; Locke; New World; colonial science; conquest; early modern thought; empire; empirical observation; judgment; narrative; natural history; natural philosophy; political culture; wonder

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2017

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