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Inventing Human ScienceEighteenth-Century Domains$
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Christopher Fox, Roy Porter, and Robert Wokler

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780520200104

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520200104.001.0001

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The Gaze of Natural History

The Gaze of Natural History

(p.112) Five The Gaze of Natural History
Inventing Human Science

Phillip Sloan

University of California Press

To understand the full importance of the revolution in the human sciences encompassed in the comment by Comte de Buffon, this chapter focuses on the concept of a “natural history” of the human species. To develop these claims, it initially explores the origins of the idea of a “natural history” of man in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, and displays the extension of this in the systematic work of the Swedish natural historian Carolus Linnaeus. The chapter then analyzes the character of Linnaeus's contemporary Buffon's self- conscious effort to construct an alternative “natural history” to that represented by the well-entrenched Linnaean program.

Keywords:   natural history, human species, Comte de Buffon, Carolus Linnaeus

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