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Author Gibson, Susannah, author
Title Animal, vegetable, mineral? : how eighteenth-century science disrupted the natural order / Susannah Gibson
Imprint New York, NY : Oxford University Press, 2015
book jacket
 人文社會聯圖  QH83 .G53 2015    AVAILABLE    30610020478913
Edition First edition
Descript xv, 215 pages : illustrations, map ; 23 cm
text txt rdacontent
unmediated n rdamedia
volume nc rdacarrier
Note Includes bibliographic references (pages 201-205) and index
1.Animal, Vegetable, Mineral? -- 2.Animal: The Problem of the Zoophyte -- 3.Vegetable: The Creation of New Life -- 4.Mineral: Living Rocks -- 5.The Fourth Kingdom: Perceptive Plants -- 6.Epilogue
Since the time of Aristotle, there had been a clear divide between the three kingdoms of animal, vegetable, and mineral. But by the eighteenth century, biological experiments, and the wide range of new creatures coming to Europe from across the world, challenged these neat divisions. Abraham Trembley found that freshwater polyps grew into complete individuals when cut. This shocking discovery raised deep questions: was it a plant or an animal? And this was not the only conundrum. What of coral? Was it a rock or a living form? Did plants have sexes, like animals? The boundaries appeared to blur. And what did all this say about the nature of life itself? Were animals and plants soul-less, mechanical forms, as Descartes suggested? The debates raging across science played into some of the biggest and most controversial issues of Enlightenment Europe. This book explains how a study of pond slime could cause people to question the existence of the soul; observation of eggs could make a man doubt that God had created the world; how the discovery of the Venus fly-trap was linked to the French Revolution and how interpretations of fossils could change our understanding of the Earth's history. Using rigorous historical research, and a lively and readable style, this book vividly captures the big concerns of eighteenth-century science. And the debates concerning the divisions of life did not end there; they continue to have resonances in modern biology
Subject Biology -- Classification -- History -- Popular works
Biology -- Nomenclature -- Popular works
Botany -- History
Zoology -- History
Mineralogy -- History
Animals -- Social aspects -- History
Plants -- Social aspects -- History
Minerals -- Social aspects -- History
Alt Title How eighteenth-century science disrupted the natural order
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