The Earth Encompassed: A History of the Environmental Sciences

The Earth Encompassed: A History of the Environmental Sciences

by Peter J. Bowler


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An accessible and comprehensive history of discoveries and outlooks that culminated in the modern discipline of environmental studies.

This authoritative volume chronicles humanity's long quest to understand its own origins. Peter J. Bowler brilliantly synthesizes discoveries in geography, geology, and evolutionary biology that have brought us to our current knowledge of the fragility and connectedness of life on earth and created the new science of ecology. Bowler adeptly balances a long historical perspective with discussion of specific developments in the major fields relating to the physical and organic environment. He brings to life theoretical debates surrounding the notion of nature as an interconnected whole and addresses the controversial ethical questions raised by the ways we investigate our world and our use of the planet's resources. This book is not only the history of a discipline but also a wide-ranging study of scientific and theoretical innovations and the cultural and professional factors that influence the way scientists explain and understand their observations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393320800
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 10/17/2000
Series: Norton History of Science Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 672
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Peter J. Bowler is professor of history and philosophy of science at the Queen's University of Belfast.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations and FiguresXIX
1The Problem of Perception1
Expanding Horizons7
Culture and Nature
Science and Christian Tradition
The Nature of Science16
The Scientific Method
Science as a Social Activity
Science and Ideology
2The Ancient and Medieval Worlds32
Greece and Rome36
Rival Cosmologies
Plato and Aristotle
Late Antiquity
The Medieval Period56
Bestiaries and Herbals
The Revival of Scholarship
3Renaissance and Revolution66
Humanism and the Natural World69
Secret Powers
The Riches of Nature
Animal, Vegetable and Mineral
The Great Instauration84
Natural History and Revolution
The Mechanical Philosophy
4Theories of the Earth99
Science in an Age of Reason100
Classification and Explanation
The Earth Described
The Origin of the Earth112
The Meaning of Fossils
New Cosmogonies
Fire and Water125
5Nature and the Enlightenment139
The Diversity of Life140
The Classical Era
The Social Environment
The Argument from Design
The System of Nature155
The Chain of Being
System and Method
The Economy of Nature166
Rural Harmony
Maintaining the Balance
The Geography of Life
The Possibilities of Change177
Filling in the Gaps
Materialism and the Origin of Life
Natural Progress
6The Heroic Age193
The Organization of Science197
Europe Surveys the Earth
America Catches Up
A New Geography204
Humboldt and the Cosmos
Humboldtian Science
The Geological Record211
Fossils and Stratigraphy
The Ancient Rocks
Climate and Time220
The Cooling Earth
Ice Ages
Mountains and Continents230
The Shrinking Earth
Floating Continents
The Rate of Change237
Catastrophist Geology
The Uniformity of Nature
The Age of the Earth
7The Philosophical Naturalists248
Knowledge and Power251
Professionals and Amateurs
Science and Politics
The Pattern of Nature258
Chains, Trees and Circles
Form and Function
The Geography of Plants272
Botanical Provinces
Historical Biogeography
The History of Life280
The Extinction of Species
Progressive Development
The Process of Change291
Transmutation before Darwin
The Origins of Darwin's Theory
Natural Selection
8The Age of Evolution306
Exploit or Conserve?309
Science and Empire
The Professionalization of Biology
Early Conservationism
The Darwinian Revolution323
Interpretations of Darwinism
The Darwinians
The Tree of Life336
Evolutionary Morphology
Fossils and Ancestors
Human Origins
Evolution and the Environment351
Paths of Migration
Evolution and Adaptation
The Origins of Ecology361
The New Biology
Plant Ecology
9The Earth Sciences379
Science in the Modern World382
Expansion and Fragmentation
The Age of Big Science
The End of Exploration
A Global Physics392
Weather Patterns
Ice Ages Again
Drifting Continents399
Geology in Crisis
Wegener's Initiative
The Reaction to Wegener
Plate Tectonics412
Sea-Floor Spreading
Past and Present
10Darwinism Triumphant428
Science and Ideology431
Images of Power
Nature and Culture
The Evolutionary Synthesis445
Parallel Evolution
The Defence of Lamarckism
Population Genetics
The New Darwinism
The Implications of Darwinism
Animal Behaviour478
Mind and Brain
Evolution and Ethology
Primate Studies
11Ecology and Environmentalism503
Changing Values504
Subduing the Wild
The Rise of Environmentalism
Ecology Comes of Age518
Plant Ecology
Animal Ecology
Marine Ecology
Modern Ecology535
Populations and Systems
Ecology and the Environmental Crisis
Bibliographical Essay564

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