By Alec L. Panchen

ISBN-10: 0521305829

ISBN-13: 9780521305822

Traditionally, naturalists who suggest theories of evolution, together with Darwin and Wallace, have performed so which will clarify the plain dating of common category. This publication starts by way of exploring the intimate ancient courting among styles of class and styles of phylogeny. it's a round argument, even though, to take advantage of the knowledge for class and the idea that of homology as proof for evolution, while evolution is the idea explaining the phenomenon of normal type. Alec Panchen offers different proof for evolution within the type of a historically-based yet conscientiously logical argument. this is often then by means of a historical past of tools of class and phylogeny reconstruction together with present mathematical and molecular options. the writer makes the real declare that if the hierarchical trend of category is a true phenomenon, then biology is exclusive as a technological know-how in making taxonomic statements. This end is reached when it comes to ancient studies of theories of evolutionary mechanism and the philosophy of technological know-how as utilized to biology.

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Extra info for Classification, Evolution, and the Nature of Biology

Sample text

The book ridiculed alchemical daydreams; but when it came to working with metals and causing changes in them by applying alchemical techniques, it acknowledged plainly that alchemy was “the source and foundation” of many other arts. Making gold was, in Biringuccio’s view, a delusion. Alchemists simply could not, he reasoned, imitate what only nature could create. Even supposing that one could possess the basic materials from which nature composed metals, it still remained a puzzle to him how one could “receive at will the influence of the heavens, on which are dependent all inferior things .

Only in order to enjoy the fine fruits of its effects and the knowledge of them, and that pleasing novelty which it shows to the experimenter in operation [italics added]” (p. 337). That “pleasing novelty,” the discovery of something new, which alchemy confers on the artisan as a result of trying out different procedures, is not only what makes things thrilling in the laboratory or workshop but is also what makes alchemy itself, as well as other artisan activities, such an important feature of the Scientific Revolution.

In the period around 1300 a general lack of precious metals in Europe obstructed the expansionist plans of many territorial rulers and made their own claims to regional authority more vulnerable. To stretch their resources, some courts turned to the practical skills of assayers and alchemists, who, by alloying gold and silver with other metals, provided the court with a means of producing more coins from the usually modest amount of gold and silver at its disposal. The budgetary advantages of such processes were obvious.

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Classification, Evolution, and the Nature of Biology by Alec L. Panchen


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