Darwin sought to not only produce a new scientific truth, but also to put an end to polygenism, the current scientific discourse on human origins that gave tacit and at times explicit support for slavery: ‘... when the principle of evolution is generally accepted, as it surely will be before long, the dispute between the monogenists and polygenists will die a silent and unobserved death.’ (Charles Darwin, Descent of Man, p. 235)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Quadrupedia and the Observations on the Three Kingdoms of Nature by Linnaeus (1735)

More of my efforts to understand better the course of Natural History as it relates to the understanding of Human variety.  This is the first post of a series that will translate or transcribe Linnaeus' classifications of human variety from the 1st edition of the Systema Naturae until the 12th edition.  Note that not all editions contained significant changes.  It is notable how much emphasis is placed upon direct visual observation as well as the use of geographical references, e.g., the table as a "quasi-Geographical" representation of Nature. 

Linnaeus's Paradoxa are those animals whose existence is doubtful or unverified and are given in an earlier post:  The Paradoxa from the Systema natura by Linnaeus (1735).

Until the 10th edition of 1758, the classification is accompanied by the brief "Observations on the Three Kingdoms of Nature" which provides the principles and bases of Linnaeus' work.  In the 10th edition it was replaced by the Imperium naturae.

The System of Nature, 
or the 
Three Kingdoms of  Nature, 
Systematically Proposed, 
in Classes, Orders, Genera, and Species.

Corpus Hirsutum. Pedes quatuor.  Feminae viviparæ, lactiseræ
Dentes primores 4 utrinque: vel nulli.
Homo. Nosce te ipsum      Europaeus albese.
    Americanus rebese.
     Asiaticus fuscus.
     Africanus nigr.
Simia.     Anteriores.    Posteriores.  
Digiti     5..............5
    Posteriores anterioribus similes
Simia cauda carens.
Papio. Satyrus.
Bradypus. Digiti  3.  vel 2.....3 Ai.      Ignavas.

Body Hairy. Feet four.  Females live birth, feed with milk
In the Form of Man.
Teeth 4 front teeth on both sides or none.
Man.Know thyself     European white.
    American red.
     Asian yellow.
     African black.
Ape.             Front.       Rear.  
Digits     5..............5
    Back and front the same
Apes without tails.
Papio. Satyrus (Apes with tails).
Cynocephalus (Dogface Baboons).
Sloth.Digits  3.  or 2.....3 Grieving.*      Shy.

"Observations on the Three Kingdoms of Nature" (1735)
I. If we consider the works of God, everyone is more than satisfied that all life is propagated from an egg, and every egg produces offspring likes its parent. Hence, no new species are produced today.

II. By generation individuals multiply. Hence, the number of the individuals of each species is today greater than at first.

III. If we count the number of individuals in each species backward in the same manner that we counted forward, the sexes end in a unico parente be it that the parent is a single hermaphrodite [unico Hermaphrodito] (as is common in plants) or be it double, male and female (as in most animals).

IV. As there are no new species (I) as the same truly begets the same (II); as one ordained from the beginning the entire species (III) it is necessary that we attribute the unity of progeny to the same omnipotent and omniscient being, namely God, whose work is Creation. The mechanisms, laws, principles, constitutions and sensations of any individual confirm this.

V. Individuals thus procreated, in their early and soft state, lack all knowledge, and are required to learn everything by their external senses. By touch they first learn the consistency of objects; taste the fluid particles; smell the volatile ones; sound: the vibrations of distant bodies; and finally sight, this ultimate sense, the shape of distinct bodies.

VI. If we look upon the universe, three objects are conspicuous: a) the distant celestial bodies b) Elements everywhere flying about c) fixed solid bodies.

VII. On our planet, of the three mentioned (VI) only two are obvious: the Elements which constitute it; and those Naturalia constructed from the elements which are inexplicable except by creation and the laws of generation.

VIII. Naturalia are rather more in the field of the senses (V) than are the others (VI) and are everywhere obvious to the other senses. And I ask why the Creator provided man with senses (V) and endowed him with intellect and placed him on the globe of earth, where his senses encounter nothing but Naturalia, formed by such an admirable and stupefying mechanism? Whether for any other reason than for us to observe the works and admire and praise their Creator?

IX. Everything herein which is of use to humans are determined by the Naturalia; hence the economy of mining or Metallurgy; Vegetable, or Agriculture and Horticulture; Animal, or the branches of animal husbandry, hunting and fishing.
In a word, it is the foundation of every economy, of construction, commerce, diet, medicine, etc. These preserve men in a sound healthy state, and preserved from disease the patient is restored by them so that their proper selection is most important. Hence (VIII, IX) the self-evident necessity of the natural sciences.

X. The first step to wisdom is to know things in themselves, this notion consists in having true idea of objects; objects are distinquished and are known by methodical classification and conventions of naming; and so classification and naming will be the foundation of our science.

XI. Those of our scientists who do not really know how to study the appropriate variations in species, the natural Species in a Genera, the Genera in Families, and yet still boast of themselves as Teachers of Science, beguile and deceive.

XII. He is called a Naturalist (Natural Historian Historicus Naturalis) who visually (V) well distinguishes the parts of Natural bodies (Corporum Naturalium) and rightly names and describes all of these according to the the three divisions [of Nature]. And to be such a man is to be a lithologist, a phytologist or a zoologist.

XIII. Natural Science is that classifying and naming (X) of Natural bodies as judiciously instituted by such a naturalist (XII).

XIV. Natural Bodies are divided into Three Kingdoms of Nature, namely the Mineral, Vegetable & Animal.

XV. Minerals grow; Plants grow and live. Animals grow, live and feel.

XVI. Many have labored all of their years in this Science of describing and illustrating, however, what quantity has already been truly observed and how much remains the curious wanderer [lustrator] will easily discover for themselves.

XVII. I have here exhibited a general conspectus of the System of Natural bodies and so lack the space, time, and opportunity to add more descriptions, but the curious reader can use this quasi-Geographical Table to know where to journey in these vast realms.

XVIII. A new method largely based on my own observations has been needed in each individual part [of this work], for I have well learned that only a very few of the observations attained from others can be readily believed.

XIX. If the curious reader is to profit from this, he should note the celebrated Dutch Botanist Dr. Joh. Fred. Gronovius as well as Mr. Isac. Lawson, the learned Scot; I grant that it is for these authors that I have communicated these brief tables and observations to the learned world.

XX. If we discover that it would be pleasing to the illustrious and curious reader, he may expect more special and more polished publications, especially in botany, from me.

 Sources for this draft translation:

Bendyshe, T.  1863-64.  "On the History of Anthropology."  Memoirs read before the Anthropological Society of London, 1863-64.  London: Truber and Co., pp.335-459  [Part II: On the Anthropology of Linnaeus,  1735-1776. pp.421-459].

Caroli Linnaei, Sveci, Doctoris Medicinae systema naturae, sive, Regna tria naturae systematice proposita per classes, ordines, genera, & species. (1735) http://archive.org/details/mobot31753002972252

Carolus Linnaeus, 1735, Systema Natura 1735 facsimile Edition with an introduction of the "Observationes" by Dr. M. S. J. Engel-Ledeboer and Dr. H. Engel. Nieuwkoop: B. de Gaaf.

James Sydney Slotkin. 1965. Readings In Early Anthropology. Psychology Press.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Eight classic works from Archive.org


Eight Classic works in the History of Science from the Internet Archive (archive.org)

Murray, Robert H. 1925.  Science And Scientists In The Nineteenth Century.  The Sheldon Press.

Sarton, George.  1948.  The life of science; essays in the history of civilization. New York: H. Schuman.

__________.  1952.  A guide to the history of science; a first guide for the study of the history of science, with introductory essays on science and traditionWaltham, Mass.:Chronica Botanica Co. 

Singer, Charles Joseph.  1917.  Studies in the history and method of science.   Oxford: Clarendon Press.

 __________.  1941.  A Short History Of Science To The Nineteenth Century.
Oxford University Press

Thorndike, Lynn.  1923.  A History of Magic and Experimental Science, v.1-8  New York: Macmillan.
Wightman,William P.D. 1953.   The Growth Of Scientific IdeasNew Haven: Yale University Press.

Wright, John Kirtland.  1925.  The geographical lore of the time of the crusades; a study in the history of medieval science and tradition in western Europe.  New York: American Geographical Society.

John Glassie with Leonard Lopate on Athanasius Kircher


A Man of Misconceptions  
Monday, December 10, 2012

John Glassie speaks with Lenny Lopate about his book on Athanasius Kircher  
A Man of Misconceptions: The life of an Eccentric in an Age of Change.

Engraving of Vesuvius by Kircher from his Mundus Subterraneus

see also the Earth Observatory:
"Happy birthday, Athanasius Kircher April 30th, 2012 by Michon Scott"

Sunday, December 9, 2012