This book resulted from a conference held in Germany in 2000 on the concept of “nature” in China and Europe before the eighteenth century. Edited by Günter Dux, a specialist of sociology and social philosophy, and by Hans Ulrich Vogel, a historian of Chinese sciences and techniques, the book includes fifteen contributions introduced by two preliminary articles by Mark Elvin, who in the last twenty years has contributed to opening up the field of Chinese environmental history. His first contribution is the overview for the book, which sets out the issues raised and sheds light on the different theories legitimating this type of project: cross-cultural in character, with well-known complexity. A theoretical framework grounded in recent biological, climatological, and psychological discoveries, as well as Dux's “historical-genetic theory of culture,” thus underlies the contributions, all of which aim to evaluate the varying...

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