The Voyage of the Beagle

Author: Charles Darwin
Publisher: Penguin UK
ISBN: 0141906618
Format: PDF, Kindle
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When HMS Beagle sailed out of Devonport on 27 December 1831, Charles Darwin was twenty-two and setting off on the voyage of a lifetime. His journal, here reprinted in a shortened form, shows a naturalist making patient observations concerning geology, natural history, people, places and events. Volcanoes in the Galapagos, the Gossamer spider of Patagonia and the Australasian coral reefs – all are to be found in these extraordinary writings. The insights made here were to set in motion the intellectual currents that led to the most controversial book of the Victorian age: The Origin of Species.

The Book That Changed America

Author: Randall Fuller
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0698186672
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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A compelling portrait of a unique moment in American history when the ideas of Charles Darwin reshaped American notions about nature, religion, science and race “A lively and informative history.” – The New York Times Book Review Throughout its history America has been torn in two by debates over ideals and beliefs. Randall Fuller takes us back to one of those turning points, in 1860, with the story of the influence of Charles Darwin’s just-published On the Origin of Species on five American intellectuals, including Bronson Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, the child welfare reformer Charles Loring Brace, and the abolitionist Franklin Sanborn. Each of these figures seized on the book’s assertion of a common ancestry for all creatures as a powerful argument against slavery, one that helped provide scientific credibility to the cause of abolition. Darwin’s depiction of constant struggle and endless competition described America on the brink of civil war. But some had difficulty aligning the new theory to their religious convictions and their faith in a higher power. Thoreau, perhaps the most profoundly affected all, absorbed Darwin’s views into his mysterious final work on species migration and the interconnectedness of all living things. Creating a rich tableau of nineteenth-century American intellectual culture, as well as providing a fascinating biography of perhaps the single most important idea of that time, The Book That Changed America is also an account of issues and concerns still with us today, including racism and the enduring conflict between science and religion.

Darwin s Dice

Author: Curtis Johnson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199361436
Format: PDF, ePub
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For evolutionary biologists, the concept of chance has always played a significant role in the formation of evolutionary theory. As far back as Greek antiquity, chance and "luck" were key factors in understanding the natural world. Chance is not just an important concept; it is an entire way of thinking about nature. And as Curtis Johnson shows, it is also one of the key ideas that separates Charles Darwin from other systematic biologists of his time. Studying the concept of chance in Darwin's writing reveals core ideas in his theory of evolution, as well as his reflections on design, purpose, and randomness in nature's progression over the course of history. In Darwin's Dice: The Idea of Chance in the Thought of Charles Darwin, Curtis Johnson examines Darwin's early notebooks, his collected correspondence (now in 19 volumes), and most of his published writing to trace the evolution of his ideas about chance in evolution. This proved to be one of Darwin's most controversial ideas among his reading public, so much so that it drew hostile reactions even from Darwin's scientific friends, not to mention the more general reader. The firestorm of criticism forced Darwin to forge a retreat, not in terms of removing chance from his theory--his commitment to it was unshakable--but in terms of how he chose to present his theory. Briefly, by changing his wording and by introducing metaphors and images (the stone-house metaphor, the evolution of giraffes, and others), Darwin succeeded in making his ideas seem less threatening than before without actually changing his views. Randomness remained a focal point for Darwin throughout his life. Through the lens of randomness, Johnson reveals implications of Darwin's views for religion, free will, and moral theory. Darwin's Dice presents a new way to look at Darwinist thought and the writings of Charles Darwin.

Literature Science Psychoanalysis 1830 1970

Author: Gillian Beer
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: 9780199266678
Format: PDF, Mobi
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The interactions between literature and science and between literature and psychoanalysis have been among the most thriving areas for interdisciplinary study in recent years. Work in these 'open fields' has taught us to recognize the interdependence of different cultures of knowledge and experience, revealing the multiple ways in which science, literature, and psychoanalysis have been mutually enabling and defining, as well as corrective and contestatory of each other. Inspired by GillianBeer's path-breaking work on literature and science, this volume presents fourteen new essays by leading American and British writers. They focus on the evolutionary sciences in the nineteeth-century; the early years of psychoanalysis, from Freud to Ella Freeman Sharpe; and the modern development of the physical sciences. Drawing on recent debates within the history of science, psychoanalytic literary criticism, intellectual history, and gender studies, the volume makes a major contribution to our understanding of the formation of knowledge. Among its recurrent themes are: curiosity and epistemology; 'growth', 'maturity', and 'coming of age' as structuring metaphors (several essays focus especially on childhood); taxonomy; sleep and dreaming and elusive knowledge; the physiology of truth; and the gender politics of scientific theory and practice. The essays also reflect Beer's extensive influence as a literary critic, with close readings of works by Charlotte Bronte, Alfred Lord Tennyson, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Henry James, Oscar Wilde, H. G. Wells, Edith Ayrton Zangwill, Charlotte Haldane, Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, and Karin Boye.