Book ID: CBB821582003

Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?: How Eighteenth-Century Science Disrupted the Natural Order (2015)

unapi

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. In this book, Susannah Gibson 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.

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Reviewed By

Review Paul Lawrence Farber (2017) Review of "Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?: How Eighteenth-Century Science Disrupted the Natural Order". Metascience: An International Review Journal for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science (pp. 293-295). unapi

Review David Knight (2016) Review of "Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?: How Eighteenth-Century Science Disrupted the Natural Order". British Journal for the History of Science (pp. 293-294). unapi

Review Wolfgang Lefèvre (2018) Review of "Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?: How Eighteenth-Century Science Disrupted the Natural Order". Ambix: Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry (pp. 191-192). unapi

Review Alan C. Love (2016) Review of "Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?: How Eighteenth-Century Science Disrupted the Natural Order". HOPOS (pp. 337-340). unapi

Review Isabelle Charmantier (2017) Review of "Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?: How Eighteenth-Century Science Disrupted the Natural Order". Archives of Natural History (pp. 186-187). unapi

Review Victoria Pickering (2017) Review of "Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?: How Eighteenth-Century Science Disrupted the Natural Order". Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences (pp. 193-194). unapi

Citation URI
http://data.isiscb.org/isis/citation/CBB821582003/

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Authors & Contributors
Dawson, Virginia Parker
Lenhoff, Sylvia G.
Lenhoff, Howard M.
Grmek, Mirko Drazen
Buscaglia, Marino L.
Jahn, Ilse
Journals
Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture
Gesnerus
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
History of Science
Apeiron: Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science
Mefisto: Rivista di medicina, filosofia, storia
Publishers
American Philosophical Society
Boxwood Press
Basilisken-Presse
IFEA Instituto Francés de Estudios Andinos: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Fondo Editorial: Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos,
Reaktion Books
Case Western Reserve University
Concepts
Plants
Animals
Natural history
Comparative physiology
Discovery in science
Mineralogy
People
Trembley, Abraham
Réaumur, René Antoine Ferchault de
Bonnet, Charles
Zischka, Anton
Spallanzani, Lazzaro
Senebier, Jean
Places
Great Britain
Central Europe: Germany, Austria, Switzerland
South America
Greece
France
Times
18th century
Medieval
Renaissance
19th century
20th century
Ancient
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