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possibly, the recent constraints imposed by disease- or organ-oriented research funding in Washington, the persisting omnipotence of some departmental heads, and the juggling of academic posts. In attempting to unleash more of our sympathy in dealing with Owen and to broaden our criticism of Huxley, Desmond interlaces their lives and opinions with those of such of their influential contemporaries as the philosopher and archcapitalist, Herbert Spencer; the champion of Lyellian geology, the Reverend Baden-Powell; the theistic counterpoint of Spencer, William Kitchen Parker; the Unitarian, William Benjamin Carpenter; and many others, such as Ray Lankester , Robert Grant, John Hulke, St. George Jackson Mivart, William Dawkins, and Harry Seeley. Because science is international, the author does not only survey London in the context of Britain but also traces the interactions of his personae with scholars in major scientific capitals elsewhere, especially since the second half of the nineteenth century witnessed the efflorescence of comparative anatomy. Within the strict confines of his historic task, the author introduces the relationships with, inter alios, Gegenbaur, Haeckel, von Baer, von Kölliker, and the Russian dissident, Kovalevskii, in Germany; Cuvier, Geoffroy St. Hilaire, and Gaudry in France; and Marsh, Cope, Agassiz, and Leidy in America. He only touches on the effects of Eurocentricism on paleontology, a subject requiring extensive handling in itself. This scholarly historiography is a telling story, generally flowing in style with only isolated stiff parts, in which there is a constant appeal for a fair, balanced judgment and for objectivity in subjective situations. For example, in his conclusions , ". . . rather than championing the 'winner' Huxley—the prototype of the twentieth-century biologist—as many partisan studies do, we should realise that both men made lasting contributions . . . ." Again, in hisjudicious advice, ". . . it is surely less profitable tojudge a theory 'right' or 'wrong' using hindsight than to see it as an adaptation to a specific context." The book illustrates undeniably the truism that "scientists do not work in a vacuum, but tend to reflect the views of the larger culture." And, one could add, so does science affect the culture, as may be gleaned from the following statement in Spencer's First Principles (published 3 years after Darwin's epic): "Civilization is a progress from an indefinite, incoherent homogeneity toward a definite, coherent heterogeneity." About 20 percent (4 1 pages) of this book consists of extensive footnotes and original source references, which are, in parts, as interesting as the text. The bibliography stretches to 24 pages. It should appeal to a wide audience. Ronald Singer Departments of Anatomy and Anthropology University of Chicago The Prevalence of Humbug and Other Essays. By Max Black. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1983. Pp. 183. $17.50. The Prevalence ofHumbug and Other Essays is a collection of essays by the Cornell philosopher, Max Black. These readable essays offer a sustained defense of the 1 70 Book Reviews importance of being reasonable, The "humbug" of its title may be considered a generic name for the several species of unreason here crisply and amusingly debunked. Readers of Perspectives will be familiar with that form of humbug which denies that science is objective. This humbug can appear to be reasonable. The growing inseparability of the scientist from his instruments appears to show that science can no longer pretend to that immediate access to reality that is the source of much of its authority. As Black puts it, "such knowledge as we now claim to get from science seems to be increasingly filtered through a complex of human language, concepts, and theories, so that it becomes increasingly hard to separate the objective features from the subjective ones" (p. 75). For these reasons, some are tempted to analyze the authority of science using the muddled methodology of psychology or sociology; they would deny that the scientific picture is any more than a myth that scientists like to believe. This piece of humbug refutes itself. If the sociological critique of the objectivity of science is itself sociologized, then the sociological picture of science is itself a myth. On the other hand, if the critique is not sociologized, then sociology can provide us with an objective picture of the world. In either case there...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 170-174
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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