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From Mineralogy to Geology

The Foundations of a Science, 1650-1830

"A fine treatment of this critical time in geology’s history. Although it goes against our standard histories of the field, Laudan defends her views convincingly. Her style is direct, with carefully reasoned personal opinions and interpretations clearly defined."—Jere H. Lipps, The Scientist

285 pages | 6 halftones, 10 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 1987

Science and Its Conceptual Foundations series

Biological Sciences: Paleobiology, Geology, and Paleontology

Earth Sciences: Geology

History of Science

Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
1. The Conceptual Foundations of Geology
The aims of geology: Causal and historical
The methods of geology
The theories of geology
The aims of history of science
2. Mineralogy and Cosmogony in the Late Seventeenth Century
Mineralogical "common sense" in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
Minerals and basic ontologies
Chemical theories of mineralogy
Mechanical theories of mineralogy
Histories of the earth
The evidence
Physical cosmogonies
Chemical cosmogonies
3. The Becher-Stahl School of Mineralogy and Cosmogony, 1700-1780
The institutional support for chemical mineralogy
Advances in mineralogy
The rocks
The ocean
The differentiation of the earths
The causes of consolidation
Eighteenth-century chemical cosmogonies
Eighteenth-century physical cosmogonies
4. The Botanical Model Rejected
The botanical model
The botanical model applied
The botanical model extended
The botanical model rejected
Identification versus classification
The taxonomy of rocks and fossils
Classification and the stages of scientific development
5. Werner and the "School of Freiberg"
Werner’s account of earth history
Formations: Time is of the essence
The Wernerian radiation
6. The Huttonian Alternative
The Huttonian theory of the earth
The immediate reaction
The background to Hutton’s theory
Later modifications of Hutton’s theory of consolidation
Hutton’s impact on geology
7. Historical Geology
Formations: The key concept of historical geology
The correlation of formations
Reconstructing the earth’s history
The Wernerian radiation: A pre-Lyellian synthesis
8. Wernerian Causal Geology
Wernerian theories of elevation
Élie de Beaumont’s synthesis
9. Lyell’s Geological Logic
Lyell and Hutton
The vera causa principle and uniformitarian geology
Lyell’s theory of the earth
Lyell’s vera causa theory of climatic change
Lyell’s theory of elevation
Lyell’s impact
10. Postscript

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