Philosophie der Naturgeschichte. Aus dem Englischen übersetzt, mit Zusätzen des Herrn Rektors Lichtensteins herausgegeben von E. Zimmermann. Berlin: Voss, 1791.
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First German edition of the first volume of Philosophy of Natural History (1790) by the Edinburgh printer, editor and author William Smellie (1740-95). The second volume was published posthumously in 1799. ‘Smellie’s class background set him apart from his Scottish Enlightenment colleagues. He was never fully accepted by his professional and aristocratic patrons although at various times in his life he counted David Hume and Adam Smith among his friends and sponsors. Indeed, his reputation as a learned printer was such that he gave advice on the content and style of their published work to many of the most prominent figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, including Hume, Kames, Monboddo, Hugh Blair, David Dalrymple, James Hutton, William Cullen and Robert Burns. The Philosophy of Natural History created a furore when in the first volume he systematically attacked Linnaeus over the question of the sexuality of plants. A formal reply was published by Dr John Rotheram of the Linnean Society at Edinburgh in 1790, under the imprint of Smellie’s embittered former business partner and Antiquarian Society rival William Creech. Rotheram insisted, quite rightly, that the evidence for male and female propagation in plants was scientifically irrefutable. He had, however, along with most of Smellie’s critics, missed much of the point. Smellie’s Natural History is an unusual attempt to contextualize scientific observation philosophically, especially in his distinguishing between plants and Animals and among animal species on the points of conscious will and psychological self-awareness. Smellie brings his reading of Locke, Hume and Adam Ferguson to bear upon his work as a natural historian so that he is arguably one of the first philosophers of modern science. In the case of the sexuality of plants, Smellie never denies that ‘male’ and ‘female’ kinds bring about vegetable generation but rather disagrees with the extension of the sexual analogy across all varieties of binary propagation. He seeks to distinguish between generation involving two of a species, which takes place throughout the natural world, and the conscious choice of sexual partners which he sees as the increasingly exclusive and defining property of animals' (Dictionary of Eighteenth-Century British Philosophers, Thoemmes Press, 1999). PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: 2 volumes, xxxii, 364, ; viii, 296 pp., contemporary half leather over marbled boards, spines gilt, corners slightly worn, all edges red, minimal browning, a very clean and attractive set. N° de ref. de la librería ABE-13431540521
Título: Philosophie der Naturgeschichte. Aus dem ...
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