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H.G. Bronn, Ernst Haeckel, and the Origins of German DarwinismA Study in Translation and Transformation$
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Sander Gliboff

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262072939

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262072939.001.0001

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H. G. Bronn and the History of Nature

H. G. Bronn and the History of Nature

(p.61) 2 H. G. Bronn and the History of Nature
H.G. Bronn, Ernst Haeckel, and the Origins of German Darwinism

Sander Gliboff

The MIT Press

Heinrich Georg Bronn developed his approach to the history of life in Handbuch einer Geschichte der Natur (Handbook of a history of nature) in the 1840s, as well as in the mature reformulation of his theories in 1858. This approach adhered to the ideals of Wissenschaft that Bronn had been developing throughout his career. Bronn was also searching for multiple and preferably quantifiable measures of progress and perfection that he could use in paleontology. This chapter examines Bronn’s intellectual commitments in order to explain his interpretation of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and the issues he raised in response to it. It first considers Bronn’s views on the principle of adaptation and the external causes of change before turning to his assumptions about law and order in nature, along with his experience of individuality and variation and his notion of the evolution of species. It also discusses his ideas about the laws and forces of morphology.

Keywords:   Heinrich Georg Bronn, history of life, Handbuch einer Geschichte der Natur, nature, evolution, Wissenschaft, paleontology, morphology, Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species

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