Books  General Natural History  Natural History 

Sciences of the Earth: Studies in the History of Mineralogy and Geology

Series: Variorum Collected Studies Series

By: David Oldroyd

356 pages, 4 b&w illustrations


Hardback | Nov 1998 | #153762 | ISBN: 0860787702
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £80.00 $103/€88 approx

About this book

Sciences of the Earth first presents a connected series of papers on the history of mineralogy in relation to chemistry, from the Renaissance to the beginning of the 19th century. It considers some of the important philosophical ideas that underpinned early thinking about minerals and earths, and also the practicalities of mineral analysis. Other papers in the volume examine the influence of historicist thinking in the emergence of historical geology; the application of Michel Foucault's ideas to the mineral kingdom; the geological ideas of Robert Hooke, with reference to his views on scientific method; the 'problem' of Whig history of science, considering as example Archibald Geikie's work as historian of geology; and the application of 'grid/group' theory to early 19th-century English geology. To open, there is a paper dealing with a Roman theory of volcanic activity, little known to historians of science.


A "geological text from antiquity: science in the silver age - Aetna, a classical theory of volcanic activity. Early ideas about minerals analysis: some neo-Platonic and stoic influences on mineralogy in the 16th and 17th centuries; mechanical mineralogy; some phlogistic mineralogical schemes, illustrative of the concept of "Earth" in the 17th and 18th centuries; an examination of G.E. Stahl's philosophical principles of universal chemistry; a note on the status of A.F. Cronstedt's simple earths and his analytical methods; mineralogy and the "chemical revolution"; some 18th century methods for the chemical analysis of minerals; Edward Daniel Clarke, 1769-1822, and his role in the history of the blow-pipe. The Earth, method, and history: Robert Hooke's methodology of science as exemplified in his "Discourse of Earthquakes"; from Renaissance mineral studies to historical geology in the light of Michael Foucault. The order of things: historicism and the rise of historical geology; by grid and group divided - Buckland and the English geological community in the early 19th century; Sir Archibald Geikie, 1835-1924; geologist, romantic aesthete, and historian of geology; the problem of Whig historiography of science.

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