Ontological excess and metonymy in early-modern descriptions of Brazil: an amodern para-scientific approach to nature
This essay relies on and furthers a hypothesis advanced in previous research: that the well-known eccentricities to be found in the early-modern <em>corpus </em>of the Portuguese colonizers of Brazil—its references to entities like monsters and demons, its bizarre descriptions, and odd c...
|Published in:||Marburg Journal of Religion (Band 22)|
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|Summary:||This essay relies on and furthers a hypothesis advanced in previous research: that the well-known eccentricities to be found in the early-modern <em>corpus </em>of the Portuguese colonizers of Brazil—its references to entities like monsters and demons, its bizarre descriptions, and odd classification systems—can be explained in view of a certain style of thinking, addressing a specific ontological concern. Ontology emerges here as a structural differentiating factor between radically distinct kinds of approach to reality, and the notions of excess and metonymy help us to characterize the specificity of a cognitive enterprise which, in its several manifestations, is literary-religious rather than scientific-empirical. Our perspective tends to challenge communicative models trying to address the difference between religious and scientific discourses merely on the level of the content and truth-values of their belief systems. Moreover it covers significantly visual culture, which helps us to present Brazilian colonial literature on a broad canvas.
This paper is one of a collection that originated in the IAHR Special Conference “Religions, Science and Technology in Cultural Contexts: Dynamics of Change”, held at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology on March 1–2, 2012. For an overall introduction see the article by Ulrika Mårtensson, also published here.|