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The Great Devonian Controversy: The Making of Scientific Knowledge among Gentlemanly Specialists

Series: Science and its Conceptual Foundations Series

By: Martin JS Rudwick(Author)

494 pages, 47 b/w photos, 10 maps

University of Chicago Press

Paperback | Jun 1988 | #4742 | ISBN: 0226731022
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £36.99 $49/€42 approx
Hardback | Jun 1985 | #4741 | ISBN: 0226731014
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £46.50 $61/€53 approx

About this book

Acclaimed everywhere as a masterpiece in the history of science, The Great Devonian Controversy recreates a scientific debate of the 1830s and 1840s about the dating of certain puzzling rock strata and fossils.

"Arguably the best work to date in the history of geology."
– David R. Oldroyd, Science

"After a superficial first glance, most readers of good will and broad knowledge might dismiss [this book] as being too much about too little. They would be making one of the biggest mistakes in their intellectual lives [...] [It] could become one of our century's key documents in understanding science and its history."
– Stephen Jay Gould, New York Review of Books

"A marvellously penetrating, scholarly analysis of early steps taken in the use of fossils to develop a geological time scale [...] Rudwick masterfully has crafted a history of one aspect of geology from a rich treasure of personal letters, unpublished reports and manuscripts."
- Willam Berry, Geology


List of Illustrations
List of Footnote Abbreviations
Dramatis Personae

Part I - Setting the Score
1. Scientific Research under a Historical Microscope
2. Arenas of Gentlemanly Debate
3. Unraveling the Earth

Part II - The Plot Unfolds
4. Prelude: Unraveling the Greywacke
5. The Controversy Goes Public
6. Taming the Transition
7. Devonshire Put to the Test
8. Interpretative Maneuvers
9. Shifting the Argument
10. Big Books in Collision
11. The Devonian System Reborn
12. Conquering the Continent
13. Creating a Consensus
14. The Devonian Naturalized

Part III - The Action Analyzed
15. The Shape of the Controversy
16. The Shaping of Natural Knowledge

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