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Cuvier's History of the Natural Sciences


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About the Author

Theodore W. Pietsch is the Dorothy T. Gilbert Professor in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and Curator of Fishes at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is the author of many books, including The Curious Death of Peter Artedi: A Mystery in the History of Science, as well as editor of the first volume of Cuvier's History of the Natural Sciences.


"Cuvier, a little bit like his contemporary Goethe, was one of those universal thinkers, whose intellectual and practical range was truly staggering. . . . As Cuvier moved into the seventeenth century, the traditional issues of the life sciences continued to merit discussion, but obviously in part a function of the way in which society was becoming increasingly industrialized, . . . the focus starts to move more toward geology and mineralogy. One thing that becomes very obvious as one reads through Cuvier's treatment of these topics is the extent to which science is starting to encroach on the domain of religion, for instance, in whether or not the fossil evidence really does offer support for the biblical account of Noah's Flood. Cuvier does not take on himself the task of deciding these issues, but clearly they are at the back of his mind. And this surely points to the lasting interest of these lectures. To what extent does Cuvier's treatment of these issues, as well of other matters such as the lasting influence of Greek thought, especially that of Aristotle, reflect in the actual science that Cuvier did himself, and . . . the ways in which these matters continued in the thinking of others, notably that of Charles Darwin?"--Michael Ruse, author of "The Gaia Hypothesis" "Quarterly Review of Biology "

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