Huxley's Autobiography and Essays

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Cosimo, Inc., 1. apr 2006 - 288 pages
As an intellectual giant of the 19th century, Thomas Henry Huxley was a pioneering genius whose influence was felt throughout the worlds of science, education, and politics of Victorian England. A man of astonishing energy and prodigious talent, Huxley had a sharp wit and a brilliant, inquiring mind. What he may have lacked in patience for tedious detail, he more than made up for in insight and intellect. Lovers of intellectual history may recall that Huxley invented the term "agnostic" to describe his own views. Generations of freethinkers are in his debt, given his codification of the agnostic concept into our language and unchained us from the limited concept of belief vs. disbelief-in and out of narrow religious contexts.This combination autobiography and essay collection, originally published in 1919, includes: . On the Method of Zadig . A Lobster; or the Study of Biology . On a Piece of Chalk . From the Hut to the Pantheon . On the Advisableness of Improving Natural Knowledge . A Liberal Education and Where to Find It . Science and Culture . On Science and Art in Relation to Education, as well as a chronology of Huxley's life and work.THOMAS HENRY HUXLEY (1825-1895), physiologist, anatomist, anthropologist, agnostic, and educator, is also the author of Evidence on Man's Place in Nature (1863).

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Page 16 - ... whose passions are trained to come to heel by a vigorous will, the servant of a tender conscience; who has learned to love all beauty, whether of Nature or of art, to hate all vileness, and to respect others as himself.
Page 186 - It is a game which has been played for untold ages, every man and woman of us being one of the two players in a game of his or her own. The chessboard is the world, the pieces are the phenomena of the universe, the rules of the game are what we call the laws of Nature.
Page 21 - The chessboard is the world, the pieces are the phenomena of the universe, the rules of the game are what we call the laws of Nature. The player on the other side is hidden from us. We know that his play is always fair, just, and patient. But also we know, to our cost, that he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance. To the man who plays well, the highest stakes are paid, with that sort of overflowing generosity with which the strong shows delight in strength. And...
Page 21 - Yet it is a very plain and elementary truth that the life, the fortune, and the happiness of every one of us, and, more or less, of those who are connected with us, do depend upon our knowing something of the rules of a game infinitely more difficult and complicated than chess.
Page 120 - I have spoken of the boulder clay and drift as resting upon the chalk. That is not strictly true. Interposed between the chalk and the drift is a comparatively insignificant layer, containing vegetable matter. But that layer tells a wonderful history. It is full of stumps of trees standing as they grew.
Page 38 - To promote the increase of natural knowledge, and to forward the application of scientific methods of investigation to all the problems of life to the best of my ability, in the conviction which has grown with my growth and strengthened with my strength, that there is no alleviation for the sufferings of mankind except veracity of thought and of action ; and the resolute facing of the world as it is, when the garment of make-believe, by which pious hands have hidden its uglier features, is stripped...
Page 182 - The clergy join in the cry for education, for they affirm that the people are drifting away from church and chapel into the broadest infidelity. The manufacturers and the capitalists swell the chorus lustily. They declare that ignorance makes bad workmen; that England will soon be unable to turn out cotton goods, or steam engines, cheaper than other people; and then, Ichabod!
Page 121 - ... beasts, which it has yielded to the zealous search of such men as the Rev. Mr. Gunn. When you look at such a collection as he has formed, and bethink you that these elephantine bones did veritably carry their owners about, and these great grinders crunch, in the dark woods of which the forest bed.
Page 168 - ... a revolution in their conceptions of the universe and of themselves, and has profoundly altered their modes of thinking and their views of right and wrong. I say that natural knowledge, seeking to satisfy natural wants, has found the ideas which can alone still spiritual cravings.

About the author (2006)

T. H. (Thomas Henry) Huxley, an English biologist born in London in 1825, was regarded as one of the leading scientists in England by the age of 26. His fame arose primarily from his support of Charles Darwin and Darwin's theory of evolution. Huxley's book Man's Place in Nature, published in 1873, added an anthropological perspective to Darwin's theory; in fact, this book was the first to advocate the idea that anthropoid apes are the closest relatives to humans. Huxley's other scientific interests included comparative anatomy and paleontology. His writings were extensive. On the topic of biology he wrote both from the scientific view and to popularize the subject. Huxley's other books were on education, philosophy, ethics, and theology. His grandson, Aldous Huxley, would later make significant contributions to English literature as well. T.H. Huxley died in 1895.

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