Next Weeks Reading

Looking at late 17th century fossils and mid 19th century perspectives on genius. I have identified the are of history that will at least give me a piece of the picture. So John S. Wilkins, Species a History of the Idea, is the first secondary source I will play about with.

 The complex idea of “species” has evolved over time, yet its meaning is far from resolved. This comprehensive work takes a fresh look at an idea central to the field of biology by tracing its history from antiquity to today. John S. Wilkins explores the essentialist view, a staple of logic from Plato and Aristotle through the Middle Ages to fairly recent times, and considers the idea of species in natural history—a concept often connected to reproduction. Tracing “generative conceptions” of species back through Darwin to Epicurus, Wilkins provides a new perspective on the relationship between philosophical and biological approaches to this concept.


For me its the social and cultural side of these ideas that interesting. The death of myth suggests quite a sudden and abrupt end to thought. These ideas can be very old and are creatures of constant re-enactment. Look at a part of that reinforcement that can be experienced in an everyday life as it negotiates and determines a sense of cultural taste.

In relation to one of the central mythical features in the perspective on fossils in the late 17 th century I have been looking at, it seems a literal rather than metaphorical observation to say that it becomes something of a sensation.

I will devote a few posts to looking at biological myth and in the spirit of late 17 th century experiment ask what does it taste like?

Do the animals and plants of the sea have a direct correspondence with those on the land?

Do they taste the same ?

This is one contemporary experimental approach to resolving the issue.

A more ancient approach may be to look at codified dietary restrictions. If land animals have a direct correspondence with those of the sea, what was to be eaten what was to be avoided?

What role does taste have in determining species concepts?

Thinking of my sons decision to enhance his chances of being able to consume a tasty looking piece of dirt when asked to stop by washing it down at speed with a container of  blow bubble fluid he had in his other hand, learning here may be a gradual processes of learning by acculturation.




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