Author: Robert Huxley
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Traces the story of natural history as reflected by the lives, observations, and discoveries of some of the world's forefront naturalists, including Alexander von Humboldt, Charles Darwin, and Aristotle, in an account that is complemented by lavish paintings and drawings of animals and natural objects.
A Journey in Final Causality, Species and Evolution
Author: Etienne Gilson
Publisher: Ignatius Press
Foreword by Christoph Cardinal Schönborn Darwin's theory of evolution remains controversial, even though most scientists, philosophers, and even theologians accept it, in some form, as an explanation for the variety of organisms. The controversy erupts when the theory is used to try to explain everything, including every aspect of human life, and to deny the role of a Creator or a purpose to life. The overreaching of many scientists into matters beyond the self-imposed limits of scientific method is perhaps explained in part by the loss of two important ideas in modern thinking—final causality or purpose, and formal causality. Scientists understandably bracket the idea out of their scientific thinking because they seek explanations on the level of material and efficient causes only. Yet many of them wrongly conclude from their selective study of the world that final and formal causes do not exist at all and that they have no place in the rational study of life. Likewise, many erroneously assume that philosophy cannot draw upon scientific findings, in light of final and formal causality, to better understand the world and man. The great philosopher and historian of philosophy, +tienne Gilson, sets out to show that final causality or purposiveness and formal causality are principles for those who think hard and carefully about the world, including the world of biology. Gilson insists that a completely rational understanding of organisms and biological systems requires the philosophical notion of teleology, the idea that certain kinds of things exist and have ends or purposes the fulfillment of which are linked to their natures—in other words, formal and final causes. His approach relies on philosophical reflection on the facts of science, not upon theology or an appeal to religious authorities such as the Church or the Bible. "The object of the present essay is not to make of final causality a scientific notion, which it is not, but to show that it is a philosophical inevitability and, consequently, a constant of biophilosophy, or philosophy of life. It is not, then, a question of theology. If there is teleology in nature, the theologian has the right to rely on this fact in order to draw from it the consequences which, in his eyes, proceed from it concerning the existence of God. But the existence of teleology in the universe is the object of a properly philosophical reflection, which has no other goal than to confirm or invalidate the reality of it. The present work will be concerned with nothing else: reason interpreting sensible experience—does it or does it not conclude to the existence of teleology in nature?" Etienne Gilson
How Aristotle Invented Science
Author: Armand Marie Leroi
A brilliant study of Aristotle as biologist The philosophical classics of Aristotle loom large over the history of Western thought, but the subject he most loved was biology. He wrote vast volumes about animals. He described them, classified them, told us where and how they live and how they develop in the womb or in the egg. He founded a science. It can even be said that he founded science itself. In The Lagoon, acclaimed biologist Armand Marie Leroi recovers Aristotle’s science. He revisits Aristotle’s writings and the places where he worked. He goes to the eastern Aegean island of Lesbos to see the creatures that Aristotle saw, where he saw them. He explores Aristotle’s observations, his deep ideas, his inspired guesses—and the things he got wildly wrong. He shows how Aristotle’s science is deeply intertwined with his philosophical system and reveals that he was not only the first biologist, but also one of the greatest. The Lagoon is both a travelogue and a study of the origins of science. And it shows how a philosopher who lived almost two millennia ago still has so much to teach us today. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: David Young
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
A compelling journey of discovery uncovering some of the mysteries of evolution.
How Evolutionary Theory Undermines Everything You Thought You Knew
Author: Steve Stewart-Williams
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
If you accept evolutionary theory, can you also believe in God? Are human beings superior to other animals, or is this just a human prejudice? Does Darwin have implications for heated issues like euthanasia and animal rights? Does evolution tell us the purpose of life, or does it imply that life has no ultimate purpose? Does evolution tell us what is morally right and wrong, or does it imply that ultimately 'nothing' is right or wrong? In this fascinating and intriguing book, Steve Stewart-Williams addresses these and other fundamental philosophical questions raised by evolutionary theory and the exciting new field of evolutionary psychology. Drawing on biology, psychology and philosophy, he argues that Darwinian science supports a view of a godless universe devoid of ultimate purpose or moral structure, but that we can still live a good life and a happy life within the confines of this view.
In Search of the First Evolutionists
Author: Rebecca Stott
Publisher: A&C Black
An electrifying account of the extraordinary untold history behind Darwin's theory of evolution
Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False
Author: Thomas Nagel
Publisher: Oxford University Press
The modern materialist approach to life has conspicuously failed to explain such central mind-related features of our world as consciousness, intentionality, meaning, and value. This failure to account for something so integral to nature as mind, argues philosopher Thomas Nagel, is a major problem, threatening to unravel the entire naturalistic world picture, extending to biology, evolutionary theory, and cosmology. Since minds are features of biological systems that have developed through evolution, the standard materialist version of evolutionary biology is fundamentally incomplete. And the cosmological history that led to the origin of life and the coming into existence of the conditions for evolution cannot be a merely materialist history, either. An adequate conception of nature would have to explain the appearance in the universe of materially irreducible conscious minds, as such. Nagel's skepticism is not based on religious belief or on a belief in any definite alternative. InMind and Cosmos, he does suggest that if the materialist account is wrong, then principles of a different kind may also be at work in the history of nature, principles of the growth of order that are in their logical form teleological rather than mechanistic. In spite of the great achievements of the physical sciences, reductive materialism is a world view ripe for displacement. Nagel shows that to recognize its limits is the first step in looking for alternatives, or at least in being open to their possibility.
Stories of Mystery and Romance from a Hidden World
Author: Erich Hoyt,Ted Schultz
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Contains over seventy essays in which various authors from throughout history discuss insects.
Author: A. L. Rice,Tony Rice
Publisher: Natural History Museum
Category: Natural history
Voyages of Discovery is a mesmerising visual record of ten of the most significant natural history expeditions. Superb artworks and photographs spanning three centuries document advances and watersheds in the field of natural science. The stories behind these images â€“ of explorers, naturalists, artists and photographers â€“ entwine into a fascinating study of human achievement and natural wonder. Among the many stories of adventure and great scientific endeavour are: Sir Hans Sloaneâ€™s journey to Jamaica in 1687; James Cookâ€™s perilous Pacific crossings; and Darwinâ€™s historic voyage aboard HMS Beagle. Hand-picked from the vast Library of the Natural History Museum, London, the illustrations and artworks contained here form a rare collection, most of which are exclusively presented in this stunning book.
A History of Natural History
Author: John G. T. Anderson
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Natural history, the deliberate observation of the environment, is arguably the oldest science. From purely practical beginnings as a way of finding food and shelter, natural history evolved into the holistic, systematic study of plants, animals, and the landscape. Deep Things out of Darkness chronicles the rise, decline, and ultimate revival of natural history within the realms of science and public discourse. Ecologist John G. T. Anderson focuses his account on the lives and contributions of an eclectic group of men and women, from John Ray, John Muir, Charles Darwin, and Rachel Carson, who endured remarkable hardships and privations in order to learn more about their surroundings. Written in an engaging narrative style and with an extensive bibliography of primary sources, the book charts the journey of the naturalist’s endeavor from prehistory to the present, underscoring the need for natural history in an era of dynamic environmental change.
Victorian Scientist, Mountaineer, and Public Intellectual
Author: Roland Jackson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Rising from a humble background in rural southern Ireland, John Tyndall became one of the foremost physicists, communicators of science, and polemicists in mid-Victorian Britain. In science, he is known for his important work in meteorology, climate science, magnetism, acoustics, and bacteriology. His discoveries include the physical basis of the warming of the Earth's atmosphere (the basis of the greenhouse effect), and establishing why the sky is blue. But he was also a leading communicator of science, drawing great crowds to his lectures at the Royal Institution, while also playing an active role in the Royal Society. Tyndall moved in the highest social and intellectual circles. A friend of Tennyson and Carlyle, as well as Michael Faraday and Thomas Huxley, Tyndall was one of the most visible advocates of a scientific world view as tensions grew between developing scientific knowledge and theology. He was an active and often controversial commentator, through letters, essays, speeches, and debates, on the scientific, political, and social issues of the day, with strongly stated views on Ireland, religion, race, and the role of women. Widely read in America, his lecture tour there in 1872-73 was a great success. Roland Jackson paints a picture of an individual at the heart of Victorian science and society. He also describes Tyndall's importance as a pioneering mountaineer in what has become known as the Golden Age of Alpinism. Among other feats, Tyndall was the first to traverse the Matterhorn. He presents Tyndall as a complex personality, full of contrasts, with his intense sense of duty, his deep love of poetry, his generosity to friends and his combativeness, his persistent ill-health alongside great physical stamina driving him to his mountaineering feats. Drawing on Tyndall's letters and journals for this first major biography of Tyndall since 1945, Jackson explores the legacy of a man who aroused strong opinions, strong loyalties, and strong enmities throughout his life.
How Birds Got Their Names
Author: Stephen Moss
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Swallow and starling, puffin and peregrine, blue tit and blackcap. We use these names so often that few of us ever pause to wonder about their origins. What do they mean? Where did they come from? And who created them? The words we use to name birds are some of the most lyrical and evocative in the English language. They also tell incredible stories: of epic expeditions, fierce battles between rival ornithologists, momentous historical events and touching romantic gestures. Through fascinating encounters with birds, and the rich cast of characters who came up with their names, in Mrs Moreau's Warbler Stephen Moss takes us on a remarkable journey through time. From when humans and birds first shared the earth to our fraught present-day coexistence, Moss shows how these names reveal as much about ourselves and our relationship with the natural world as about the creatures they describe.
Three Centuries of Natural History Exploration
Author: A. L. Rice,David Bellamy
Category: Natural history
A visual record of some of the most significant and beautiful discoveries in the history of natural science exploration. Handpicked from the vast archives of the Natural History Museum in London, these are the stories and images of explorers, naturalists, artists and photographers the world over.
Author: Robin Hanbury-Tenison
What inspires explorers to push back the boundaries of the known world? Why do they risk their lives in unforgiving conditions far from home? How do they survive at the limits of human endurance? Who are the great pioneers of land, sea and space? Where next? This book charts the great expeditions of forty of the world's most intrepid explorers, from da Gama to Gagarin. Gertrude Bell plotted the desert sands, politics and poetry of Arabia; Francis Garnier was driven almost insane on the banks of the Mekong; Edward Wilson twice tried to reach the South Pole with Scott; Nain Singh mapped the vast spaces of Tibet, counting every step. Written by a host of distinguished travel writers, broadcasters and historians, here are journeys to savour from every corner of the earth - and beyond.
A Short Illustrated History of Ornithology
Author: Valérie Chansigaud
This illustrated book tells the story of ornithology from ancient times to the present. Filled with paintings, drawings, photographs, and diagrams, it is a chronological account of the personalities and milestones that have shaped this popular of sciences.
Text with Translation, Commentary, and Interpretive Essays
Author: Aristotle,Martha Craven Nussbaum
Publisher: Princeton University Press
The aim of this book is to ask through a study of one of his most complicated treatises on explanation, how far, and in what sense, the demands of the 'scientific person' are Aristotle's.
Author: Theodosius Dobzhansky,Theodosius Grigorievich Dobzhansky
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Featuring an introduction by Stephen Jay Gould, "Genetics and the Origin of Species" presents the first edition of Dobzhansky's groundbreaking and now classic inquiry into what has emerged as the most important single area of scientific inquiry in the twentieth century: biological theory of evolution. Genetics and the Origin of Species went through three editions (1937, 1941, and 1951) in which the importance accorded natural selection changed radically.
Alexander Von Humboldt's New World
Author: Andrea Wulf
A portrait of the German naturalist reveals his ongoing influence on humanity's relationship with the natural world today, discussing such topics as his views on climate change, conservation, and nature as a resource for all life.