Notes on the Chain of Being and the place of blacks in eighteenth-century European natural philosophy

Christian Fausto Moraes dos Santos, Rafael Dias da Silva Campos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This examination of academic works produced by eighteenth-century natural philosophers discusses some recurring ideas about the Chain of Being. To this end, the article analyzes the relations between natural philosophy and theology during the period. It also re-evaluates some elements of the Chain of Being through an exploration of authors who addressed the topic in their writings. Lastly, it identifies a specific element within eighteenth-century discussions of scala naturae, to wit, the various and not always convergent ideas about whether there are differences between humans based on specific characteristics and, consequently, about the places they occupy in the chain of being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1215-1234
Number of pages20
JournalHistoria Ciencias Saude-Manguinhos
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • history of science
  • natural philosophy
  • scala naturae
  • Chain of Being
  • eighteenth century

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