Jump to navigation Jump to search Frontispiece An Essay on Criticism is one of the first major poems written by the English writer Alexander Pope —
Everything important that has happened to humans since the Paleolithic is due to environmental influences.
History as a whole reflects these environmental differences and forces. Culture is largely irrelevant: Diamond proceeds systematically through the main phases of history in all parts of the world and tries to show, with detailed arguments, how each phase, in each major region, is explainable largely by environmental forces.
The final outcome of these environmentally caused processes is the rise and dominance of Europe. The essential argument is very clear and simple. Almost all of history after the Ice Ages happened in the temperate midlatitudes of Eurasia.
The natural environment of this large region is better for human progress than are the tropical environments of the world, and the other temperate or midlatitude regions -- South Africa, Australia, and midlatitude North and South America -- could not be central for human progress because they are much smaller than Eurasia and are isolated from it and from each other.
Although many civilizations arose and flourished in temperate Eurasia, only two were ultimately crucial, because of their especially favorable environments: Some years ago China's environment proved itself to be inferior to Europe's in several crucial ways.
Therefore Europe in the end was triumphant.
Diamond distinguishes between the "ultimate factors" that explain "the broadest patterns of history" and the "proximate factors," which are effects of the "ultimate factors" and explain short-term and local historical processes. The "ultimate" factors are environmental. The most important of these "ultimate" factors are the natural conditions that led to the rise of food production.
Those world regions that became agricultural very early gained a permanent advantage in history. The "ultimate" causes led, in much later times, to regional variations in technology, social organization, and health; these, then, were the "proximate" causes of modern history.
More than half of Guns, Germs, and Steel is devoted to elucidating the "ultimate" causes, explaining why differing environments led to differing rates in the acquisition of agriculture, and explaining how the resulting differences largely determined the "fate" his word of different peoples.
The "ultimate" causes are three primordial environmental facts: The first and most basic cause is the shape of the continents: Eurasia, Africa, and the Americas.
Eurasia has an east-west axis; the other two have north-south axes. This has had "enormous, sometimes tragic consequences" for human history p.
Africa and the Americas were unable to progress throughout most of history because their "axes" are north-south, not east-west. But Diamond is not really talking about axes; mostly he is making a rather subtle argument about the climatic advantages that in his view midlatitude regions have over tropical regions.
The world's largest continuous zone of "temperate" climates lies in a belt stretching across Eurasia from southern Europe in the west to China in the east.The Faun's Bookshelf is an interesting title that explores, as part of the subtitle reveals, "Why Myth Matters." Dr.
Charlie Starr, the author, uses books C.S. Lewis mentions on Mr. Tumnus's bookshelf as the framework to examine what myth means and how it teaches us about reality. September In high school I decided I was going to study philosophy in college.
I had several motives, some more honorable than others. One of the less honorable was to shock people. Richard Fariña: Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me New York: Random House, April 28, Click on covers for larger images and more info. Click here for reviews and literary criticism.
"I been down so long, seem like up to me. AN ESSAY ON CRITICISM. Written in the Year (by Pope, Alexander) THE CONTENTS OF THE Essay on Criticism. PART I. 1. That 'tis as great a fault to judge ill, as to write-ill, and a more dangerous one to the public..
2. The variety of men's Tastes; of a true Taste, how rare to be found.
Try Our Friends At: The Essay Store. Free English School Essays. We have lots of essays in our essay database, so please check back here frequently to see the newest additions. An Essay on Criticism is one of the first major poems written by the English writer Alexander Pope (–).
It is the source of the famous quotations "To err is human, to forgive divine," "A little learning is a dang'rous thing" (frequently misquoted as "A little knowledge is a dang'rous thing"), and "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.".