Challenges to lyell's geotheory (1832–35)

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:
Challenges to lyell's geotheory (1832–35)

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The full publication of Charles Lyell's Principles, while causing no scientific revolution, provoked intense argument among geologists. This chapter focuses on the reactions to Lyell's geotheory. In general, fellow geologists welcomed his enlarged repertoire of actual causes as capable of explaining more than had hitherto been supposed; but they rejected his claim that there had never been any events more sudden or violent than those witnessed in human history, and even more his claim that there had been no overall directionality in geohistory. Above all, they unpicked Lyell's unitary concept of “absolute uniformity” into its component meanings, some of them more plausible than others.

Keywords: Charles Lyell; Principles of Geology; geohistory; geologists; absolute uniformity

Chapter.  7509 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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