Anthropomorphism And Nature

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Though humans often boast of their inability to be swayed or persuaded against a belief, they are easily malleable. The external environment plays a major role in the impressionable human perception. An individual’s view on certain aspects of their external environment, notably nature and its species, relies largely on publications and visual depictions. Through reflecting upon the concept of anthropomorphism, artists’ depictions of nature, and the common motif of nature and animals in the plays of William Shakespeare, it is evident that a person’s view of nature can be largely influenced by art and literature. Moreover, an individual can learn to identify with nature on a personal and emotional level. Anthropomorphism, loosely defined, is assigning human-like characteristics to an inanimate object, animal, or something that does not usually exhibit human characteristics. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term originated in Greece in 1753 (Anthropomorphism, 1885). Anthropo- is a prefix related to anthropology, which studies humans, and -morphism means to change/morph. Anthropomorphism should not be confused with personification, however, which is the assigning of human-like characteristics to abstract thoughts, such as the weather. In the book Essays in Anthropology, philosopher and author Robert Spaemann states that, “[t]he concept of nature is now taken to be anthropomorphic” (Spaemann, 2010, p. 35). Spaemann’s intention with this statement was to bring to
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