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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The wrong book20 Dec 2009
Paul P. Christensen
- Published on Amazon.com
I would like to have known whether this book was volume 1 or II (It was v. II, on medicine, not the volume on the study of organic life and its great penultimate chapter on evolution. I would also have liked to known which edition it was based on. The book sent was the 1800 edition). All this is vital information. Cambridge University has published the a new edition of volume one based on the first (1794) edition. Volume II will not be of interest to anyone besides a medical historian. Darwin's great study is a magnificent synthesis of enlightenment work of the nature of organic life and its evolution informed by the work of Linnaeus and his students, Huttonian geology, the chemistry of living processes based on discoveries of Priestley, and theories of conditioning and learning based on the work of Haller, etc. Chapter 39 is a must read for anyone interested in the history of evolutionary theory. Malthus drew on it for his proto-evolutionary theodicy and his idea of the 'struggle for existence' and Charles Darwin knew and was influenced by the work. He cites Malthus for the idea but he obviously knew it from his grandfather.