Chapter

Geology's Guiding Principles (1830)

in Worlds Before Adam

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780226731285
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226731308 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226731308.003.0022
Geology's Guiding Principles (1830)

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This chapter discusses the first volume of Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology. Lyell's long introductory chapters gave readers a foretaste of the massively elaborate “system” that the rest of his work would try to substantiate. Despite his renunciation of any speculation about the primal origin of the earth, or “cosmogony,” the ambitious scope of Lyell's work left his contemporaries in no doubt about the genre to which the Principles belonged. What he himself described repeatedly as a “system” was indeed what that word by long tradition denoted: a “theory of the earth” or geotheory.

Keywords: Charles Lyell; Principles of Geology; geotheory; geohistory

Chapter.  9252 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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