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The Voyage Of The Beagle

Author: Charles Darwin
Publisher: Penguin UK
ISBN: 0141906618
Size: 73.43 MB
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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.

Darwin S Dice

Author: Curtis Johnson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199361436
Size: 63.75 MB
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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
Size: 64.21 MB
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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.

Dark Vanishings

Author: Patrick Brantlinger
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 0801468671
Size: 38.28 MB
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Patrick Brantlinger here examines the commonly held nineteenth-century view that all "primitive" or "savage" races around the world were doomed sooner or later to extinction. Warlike propensities and presumed cannibalism were regarded as simultaneously noble and suicidal, accelerants of the downfall of other races after contact with white civilization. Brantlinger finds at the heart of this belief the stereotype of the self-exterminating savage, or the view that "savagery" is a sufficient explanation for the ultimate disappearance of "savages" from the grand theater of world history. Humanitarians, according to Brantlinger, saw the problem in the same terms of inevitability (or doom) as did scientists such as Charles Darwin and Thomas Henry Huxley as well as propagandists for empire such as Charles Wentworth Dilke and James Anthony Froude. Brantlinger analyzes the Irish Famine in the context of ideas and theories about primitive races in North America, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere. He shows that by the end of the nineteenth century, especially through the influence of the eugenics movement, extinction discourse was ironically applied to "the great white race" in various apocalyptic formulations. With the rise of fascism and Nazism, and with the gradual renewal of aboriginal populations in some parts of the world, by the 1930s the stereotypic idea of "fatal impact" began to unravel, as did also various more general forms of race-based thinking and of social Darwinism.