Adolphe Quetelet was an influential astronomer and statistician whose controversial work inspired heated debate in European and American intellectual circles. In creating a science designed to explain the “average man,” he helped contribute to the idea of normal, most enduringly in his creation of the Quetelet Index, which came to be known as the Body Mass Index. Kevin Donnelly presents the first scholarly biography of Quetelet, exploring his contribution to quantitative reasoning, his place in nineteenth-century intellectual history, and his profound influence on the modern idea of average.
About the Author
Kevin Donnelly is assistant professor of history at Alvernia University in Reading, PA.
Table of ContentsCover Half Title Title Copyright Contents Acknowledgements List of Figures Introduction: Two Average Men 1. Life in the War: The End of Enlightenment in Belgium, 1796–1823 2. Casualties of War: Quetelet and Friends in Ghent and Brussels, 1815–23 3. Stoking the Sacred Fire: The Administration of Observation in the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, 1822–30 4. From Brussels to Europe: The Creation of a Scientific Network, 1823–9 5. Physique Sociale, 1825–35 6. The Other Average Man: L’Homme Moyen and its Critics Conclusion: The New Argonauts Epilogue: The Average Enlightenment Works Cited Notes Index