Difference between revisions of "Talk:World History Lecture Eight"

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The confinement analogy is insightful.  The luxuriousness of the quarters is beside the point.--[[User:Aschlafly|Andy Schlafly]] 21:53, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
The confinement analogy is insightful.  The luxuriousness of the quarters is beside the point.--[[User:Aschlafly|Andy Schlafly]] 21:53, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
== Another Reversion explained ==
Some of the reverted edits were good, but several of them introduced a bias and withheld key information from students.  There have been relatively few good English philosophers; Burke was remarkable in predicting outcomes based on his conservative political philosophy.  Feel free to reinsert the additions without deleting information.--[[User:Aschlafly|Andy Schlafly]] 12:56, 21 March 2009 (EDT)

Revision as of 11:56, 21 March 2009

Just thought I would point out that the slave trade is not considered part of the Columbian Exchange. The Columbian exchange, also known as the great biological exchange, dealt with plants, animals, and pathogens. See for example, Alfred Crosby, The Columbian Exchange (1972)


There are a number of errors in the "Enlightenment" section, but I'd like to focus on the errors relating to Hume. First of all, presenting Hume as a sceptic towards religion, while absolutely true, is an understatement. Hume was sceptical of everything beyond experience, even those things (such as continuity and causation) which previous philosophers had taken for granted. Secondly, it is entirely untrue to claim that there were so few great English philosophers, whether that means English speaking or born in England (hopefully it doesn't mean the latter, because Hume was of course Scottish). Hume is considered one of the greatest not because he has so few peers, but because, surprisingly enough, he was a brilliant philosopher. Thirdly the claim that Hume's chief claim to fame is that he influenced Darwin is utterly absurd. His claim to fame is that he gave the finest statement of empiricism and made important criticisms of philosophy's attempts to understand metaphysics. The fact that he influenced Darwin may be important, but is not even well known. JHanson 17:16, 21 February 2009 (EST)


The caravel wasn't notable so much for its cargo ability (in the spice trade it was replaced by other, heavier ships) but its speed and manueverability in shallow water.

"Known as the 'reconquista', this was accomplished first through the reconquest of Granada" - the Reconquista had been going on for hundreds of years, it didn't begin with the capture of Granada.

Magellan's voyage didn't lead to ownership of Mexico and Peru. Cortes claimed Mexico for Spain in March 1519. Magellan sailed from Spain in August 1519.

"Giving them a bunch of blankets exposed to the deadly germ" almost certainly is not true for the time period discussed - it implies a knowledge of disease far beyond the 16th century. The few semi-documented cases come from the mid-late 18th century. Disease was the major killer of natives, but not through conscious infection through smallpox.

Philip II reigned from 1556-1598, not 1638-1715. The Dutch Revolt began in 1568. 1579 was the creation of the Union of Utrecht.

--CWaddell 21:51, 23 February 2009 (EST)

Andy, on the role of the caravel, read CP's Caravel, also Nao and Carrack as the vessels used by the Iberian nations in the early Age of Exploration. The caravel did much of the early work, especially down Africa, but its role diminished rapidly as soon as things really got under way.
  • Magellan did not round the Horn...he went through the Strait of Magellan. As did Drake later. The Horn (which is actually an island) was to be rounded in early 1616 by an expedition co-led by Willem Cornelisz Schouten and named after his home town of Hoorn in Holland.
  • Ivan the Terrible was tsar, or czar, of Russia (the first to be so) from 1547 until his death in 1584. Until 1547 he was Prince of Muscovy (Moscow) AlanE 23:21, 23 February 2009 (EST)

Thoughts and comments

Already I have mentioned Magellan’s non-rounding of the Horn, and intimated that the caravel was not as you described, suggesting you check Conservapedia entries for other vessels of the time. I also changed your date of Henry the Navigator’s founding of his school of navigation. – he was born in that year.

  • (1) Of the 321 words in “Portuguese Exploration”, 127 are actually on that subject. The other 184 are on Columbus.
  • (2) Dias didn’t “fail”. His purpose was to find the way to India. That he did. He chose to return. His expedition was not set up to actually “go” to India.
  • (3) There’s a complete lack of anything about discovery/trade/colonisation anywhere in the world except the Americas; apart from one mention of the Philippines, and Dias and Da Gama’s first voyage. Where are the Dutch? – for most of the 17th century they were the most successful traders on earth and controlled most of the spice trade – which, remember, was the main reason for the voyages of discovery to start off with. What mention of the discovery of Australia? The founding of Cape Colony? Those two great examples of capitalism, the Dutch and English East India Companies?
  • (4) Where’s the English Civil War? Cromwell et al.
  • (5) ”Commercial competition between European nations in North America culminated in the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763)” is just a tad parochial. Actually the Seven Years War was a teeny bit bigger than that. In Europe, it was fought over possession of Silesia by Prussia and Austria. France, Russia, Sweden, Poland sided with Austria; Britain with Prussia. The conflict in Europe contained about 20 major battles in each of which at least 40,000 troops took part with total battle losses of well over 200,000 men. That does not include smaller engagements, sieges, the sacking of towns and villages and pillaging of the countryside, major sea battles ( Lagos, Quiberon Bay) and so on. (It is estimated over a million people died as a result of the conflict in Europe). Because Britain and France were already at each others’ throats unofficially in various parts of the world (including the aptly named French and Indian Wars) there were also major engagements between Britain and France in India, and the West Indies. Late in the war Spain and Portugal set to it in South America. It reached every inhabited continent except Australia (the discovery of which in the early 1600s doesn’t seem to matter, I notice.)
I am not at all minimising the importance of the F and I War – it had an enormous impact – it gave Canada to Britain and in a way opened the door for the American Revolution a few years later. But the Seven Years War also gave Britain control of India, which is not exactly trifling; and the Battle of Quiberon Bay off Brittany in 1759 equals Trafalgar in importance.
To say that the Seven Years’ War was about “commercial competition between European nations in North America” is a bit like saying World War II started with Pearl Harbor. (And I have met Americans who thought it did.) AlanE 00:39, 12 March 2009 (EDT)00:38, 12 March 2009 (EDT)
One other thing....English. Phonetic? How does that gell with the infamous "ough" words. You know, "cough", "through" "burough", 'rough", etc? Not to mention "veer"' "mere", "pier" "ear" and so on. I love English. I wallow in it. I carry volumes of Shakespeare around in my back pocket. But I would never call it phonetically easy. AlanE 01:14, 12 March 2009 (EDT)
Yes, I'd agree on that. There are some languages (such as Italian) where you can teach someone the pronunciation rules and then they can correctly read aloud anything written in that language without understanding it. In English, if you see the word "moped", you don't even know how many syllables it has until you know (by understanding and by context) if it's a noun or a verb. DeniseM 05:04, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
English has some bothersome exceptions to phonetic pronunciation, but there's no denying that the language is largely phonetic. Indeed, phonics is proven to be the best way to learn it.
I'll review the other comments above and incorporate in to the lecture as appropriate. Thanks.--Andy Schlafly 09:48, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
You're welcome. English (as I think I said in my revised version) does have a large phonetic element, but less so than many (most?) other languages that use sound-based written elements. Italian or Hebrew or Arabic or Russian is pretty close to perfectly phonetic, which I think is what is meant by describing a language as phonetic. Personally I'm a great lover of puns and wordplay, so I'm quite happy by all the irregularity. DeniseM 13:31, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
The larger language (in terms of usage) of Chinese is not phonetic. Also, I'm surprised to hear you claim that Hebrew is phonetic. It traditionally lacked vowels!--Andy Schlafly 15:47, 17 March 2009 (EDT)

(outdent) Denise, "sound-based written elements" = phonetic, rather than characters representing ideas (as they do in Chinese). In this sense English is phonetic - although I think there is a specific linguistic word for this; phonograms as opposed to ideograms ?  :) . Even though a character (or sequence) may represent ultiple sounds depending on context (and which language it was adapted from), it still stands for sounds. A phonetic written language is not the same as a phonetically consistent lexicon. In this sense any language not written in ideograms is phonetic. If I read it correctly, Andy was simply saying that as a phonetic (characters = sounds) language, English has advantages over ideogrammatic languages. LowKey 19:58, 17 March 2009 (EDT)

Reply to comments

The above comments, corrections and suggestions on this lecture have been particularly superb. I have incorporated nearly all of them, and the lecture is now complete except for a final proofread. The class of about 46 or so students is grateful for your insights.

I welcome further suggestions.

The only suggestions that I recall not incorporating are the bit about the English civil wars (e.g., Cromwell) and the Dutch exploration and settlement in Africa, which are covered in a future lectures, and the defense of Hume at the top above, which I feel is too sympathetic to him. Except as otherwise noted above, I think I included everything else. On behalf of the students, I thank you.--Andy Schlafly 20:10, 17 March 2009 (EDT)

Reversion explained

The confinement analogy is insightful. The luxuriousness of the quarters is beside the point.--Andy Schlafly 21:53, 18 March 2009 (EDT)

Another Reversion explained

Some of the reverted edits were good, but several of them introduced a bias and withheld key information from students. There have been relatively few good English philosophers; Burke was remarkable in predicting outcomes based on his conservative political philosophy. Feel free to reinsert the additions without deleting information.--Andy Schlafly 12:56, 21 March 2009 (EDT)