Scaling from weather to climate

  • One of the theoretical tensions that has arisen from Anthropocene studies is what Dipesh Chakrabarty has called the 'two figures of the human', and the question of which of these two figures of the human inheres in the concept of the Anthropocene more. On the one hand, the Human is conceived as the universal reasoning subject upon whom political rights and equality are based, and on the other hand, humankind is the collection of all individuals of our species, with all of the inequalities, differences, and variability inherent in any species category. This chapter takes up Deborah Coen's argument that Chakrabarty's claim of the 'incommensurability' of these two figures of the human ignores the way both were constructed within debates over how to relate local geophysical specificities to theoretical generalities. This chapter examines two cases in the history of science. The first is Martin Rudwick's historical exploration of how geologists slowly gained the ability to use fossils and highly local stratigraphic surveys to reconstruct the history of the Earth in deep time, rather than resort to speculative cosmological theory. The second is Coen's own history of imperial, Austrian climate science, a case where early nineteenth-century assumptions about the capriciousness of the weather gave way to theories of climate informed by thermodynamics and large-scale data collection.

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Author:Daniel Liu
Parent Title (English):Weathering : Ecologies of Exposure / Herausgeber: Christoph F. E. Holzhey, Arnd Wedemeyer ; Cultural Inquiry ; 17
Publisher:ICI Berlin Press
Place of publication:Berlin
Document Type:Part of a Book
Date of Publication (online):2020/10/30
Year of first Publication:2020
Publishing Institution:Universit├Ątsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2020/11/23
Tag:Climate; Geology; Incommensurability; Meteorology; Scale; Stratigraphy
GND Keyword:Meteorologie; Klima; Geologie; Stratigraphie; Wissenschaft; Geschichte; Vergleichbarkeit
Page Number:25
First Page:94
Last Page:117
Except for images or otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 55 Geowissenschaften, Geologie / 550 Geowissenschaften
8 Literatur / 80 Literatur, Rhetorik, Literaturwissenschaft / 800 Literatur und Rhetorik
Sammlungen:CompaRe | Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft
CompaRe | Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft / ICI Berlin
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen