Finding Order in Nature The Naturalist Tradition from Linnaeus to E. O. Wilson

ISBN-10: 0801863902
ISBN-13: 9780801863905
Edition: 2000
List price: $26.00 Buy it from $18.95
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Description: Since emerging as a discipline in the middle of the eighteenth century, natural history has been at the heart of the life sciences. It gave rise to the major organizing theory of life--evolution--and continues to be a vital science with impressive  More...

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Book details

List price: $26.00
Copyright year: 2000
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 6/15/2000
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 152
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.50" long x 0.25" tall
Weight: 0.484
Language: English

Since emerging as a discipline in the middle of the eighteenth century, natural history has been at the heart of the life sciences. It gave rise to the major organizing theory of life--evolution--and continues to be a vital science with impressive practical value. Central to advanced work in ecology, agriculture, medicine, and environmental science, natural history also attracts enormous popular interest. In Finding Order in Nature Paul Farber traces the development of the naturalist tradition since the Enlightenment and considers its relationship to other research areas in the life sciences. Written for the general reader and student alike, the volume explores the adventures of early naturalists, the ideas that lay behind classification systems, the development of museums and zoos, and the range of motives that led collectors to collect. Farber also explores the importance of sociocultural contexts, institutional settings, and government funding in the story of this durable discipline. "The quest for insight into the order of nature leads naturalists beyond classification to the creation of general theories that explain the living world. Those naturalists who focus on the order of nature inquire about the ecological relationships among organisms and also among organisms and their surrounding environments. They ask fundamental questions of evolution, about how change actually occurs over short and long periods of time. Many naturalists are drawn, consequently, to deeper philosophical and ethical issues: What is the extent of our ability to understand nature? And, understanding nature, will we be able to preserve it? Naturalists question the meaning of the order they discover and ponder our moral responsibility for it." -- from the Introduction

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Collecting, Classifying, and Interpreting Nature: Linnaeus and Buffon, 1735-1788
New Specimens: Transforming Natural History into a Scientific Discipline, 1760-1840
Comparing Structure: The Key to the Order of Nature, 1789-1848
New Tools and Standard Practices, 1840-1859
Darwin's Synthesis: The Theory of Evolution, 1830-1882
Studying Function: An Alternative Vision for the Science of Life, 1809-1900
Victorian Fascination: The Golden Age of Natural History, 1880-1900
New Synthesis: The Modern Theory of Evolution, 1900-1950
The Naturalist as Generalist: E. O. Wilson, 1950-1994
Epilogue
Suggested Further Reading
Index

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