Bursting the Limits of Time: The Reconstruction of Geohistory in the Age of Revolution

Bursting the Limits of Time: The Reconstruction of Geohistory in the Age of Revolution

Language: English

Pages: 732

ISBN: 0226731111

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Bursting the Limits of Time: The Reconstruction of Geohistory in the Age of Revolution

Language: English

Pages: 732

ISBN: 0226731111

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In 1650, Archbishop James Ussher of Armagh joined the long-running theological debate on the age of the earth by famously announcing that creation had occurred on October 23, 4004 B.C. Although widely challenged during the Enlightenment, this belief in a six-thousand-year-old planet was only laid to rest during a revolution of discovery in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In this relatively brief period, geologists reconstructed the immensely long history of the earth-and the relatively recent arrival of human life. Highlighting a discovery that radically altered existing perceptions of a human's place in the universe as much as the theories of Copernicus, Darwin, and Freud did, Bursting the Limits of Time is a herculean effort by one of the world's foremost experts on the history of geology and paleontology to sketch this historicization of the natural world in the age of revolution.

Addressing this intellectual revolution for the first time, Rudwick examines the ideas and practices of earth scientists throughout the Western world to show how the story of what we now call "deep time" was pieced together. He explores who was responsible for the discovery of the earth's history, refutes the concept of a rift between science and religion in dating the earth, and details how the study of the history of the earth helped define a new branch of science called geology. Rooting his analysis in a detailed study of primary sources, Rudwick emphasizes the lasting importance of field- and museum-based research of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Bursting the Limits of Time, the culmination of more than three decades of research, is the first detailed account of this monumental phase in the history of science.

Learning from Leonardo: Decoding the Notebooks of a Genius

Crop Circles, Jung, and the Reemergence of the Archetypal Feminine

Brain and Spinal Tumors of Childhood (Hodder Arnold Publication)

Not a Chimp: The Hunt to Find the Genes that Make Us Human

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

humanities—all of them Wissenschaften, sciences, wetenschappen, scienze (etc.) in the broad sense still retained in European languages other than English—are not intrinsic to the natural and human worlds: all our maps of knowledge are themselves human constructions, embedded in the contingencies and specificities of history. . Rudwick, “Visual language” (), set out long ago my own plea for the use of pictorial sources in historical work on the sciences. This article was quite well received

after living many years in England—to savants such as his neighbor the German-born astronomer William Herschel. The Dutch naturalist Petrus Camper and his son Adriaan, exchanging letters almost weekly while the younger man was living in Paris, both wrote as a matter of course in French, not in their native language.24 Any savant wanting his work to get full international attention would therefore try to have it published in French, or translated as soon as possible after its publication in

and established “facts”, or undermined and rejected as spurious or invalid. . MAPS OF NATURAL KNOWLEDGE The literary and the philosophical The third and last part of this brief survey of the scientific world around the time of Saussure’s ascent of Mont Blanc deals with the tacit mental “map of knowledge” on which the various sciences were situated and related to each other. In other words, having outlined who was practicing the sciences (§.) and where the scientific knowledge was being

containing beautifully preserved fossils, was enough to make any savant’s imagination reel at the likely immensity of time. The point was well summarized by La Métherie, the editor of Observations sur la Physique: “One feels that such enormous beds of limestone, gypsum, and shales, and such substantial masses of [fossil] shells, fish, and plants, could have been formed only in an innumerable sequence of ages [siècles] of which we have no conception, and perhaps at different epochs.”85 Estimates

ambitious kind, which were intended to take causal explanation on to a much higher level of generality. In fact, to describe the more restricted kind of study as if it were an end in itself is rather misleading, for such work was usually undertaken as a means towards a much more important end. The ultimate goal of many savants concerned with the sciences of the earth was to construct what they called a “system” or high-level theory about the earth. This would be not merely a theory to explain

Download sample

Download