Zoophagous geology: William Buckland and extra-visual scientific observation

Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group
David Allan Feller (Department of History and Philosophy of Science)
Entertaining Room, Darwin College
Tuesday, November 2, 2010 - 13:10 to 14:00

Perhaps because his fellow naturalists thought William Buckland’s personal habits a bit ‘showy’ for a professional, important aspects of Buckland’s fieldwork methodology have been labeled ‘eccentric’. The best example of this is Buckland’s zoophagy. Buckland’s eccentric eating habits, which included a vow to sample every member of the animal kingdom. In Buckland’s kitchen, friends could expect to dine on all manner of things, from toasted mice to roasted rhino. Was Buckland’s interesting culinary desires the expression of some greater ‘scientific’ inquiry? In his lectures at Oxford, Buckland taught that the world was ‘ruled by the stomach’ extended from, and so from that philosophy we may begin to look at just what eating had to do with Buckland’s natural history and his theories of the earth’s origin.

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