Stranger than the dreams of Ptolemy

The Antipodean challenge to Western thinking

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  • Published 20200804
  • ISBN: 978-1-922212-50-4
  • Extent: 304pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

Although Europeans had believed in the symmetry of the two hemispheres for nearly two centuries, they silently forgot the idea. They tolerantly accepted that when God created the world he had not wanted it to be symmetrical.
Ernst van den Boogaart, ‘Mythical symmetry’

THE EXTENT TO which the seventeenth-­century Dutch ‘discovery’ of the great southern continent we now call Australia had a cataclysmic impact on European cosmology is open to conjecture. But it is certain that the historical failures by Europeans to ‘see’ or understand the realities of the Australian land, its people and its creatures – as evidenced throughout history – have continued right up to the present. Despite the inadequacies of European tropes, genres, classification systems and ways of thinking in coming to terms with the challenges of understanding this southern continent, northern hemisphere frameworks of thinking in the sciences and humanities still persist.

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