The Extraterrestrial Life Debate 1750-1900: The Idea of a Plurality of Worlds from Kant to Lowell

Front Cover
CUP Archive, Feb 26, 1988 - Science - 680 pages
This is the first in-depth study in English of the international debate that developed between 1750 and 1900 concerning the question of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligent life. Taking a history of ideas approach, the author describes the controversies that-arose over this question and reveals the great extent to which this issue influenced astronomical, philosophical, and religious thought. Professor Crowe shows that the majority of the leading astronomers of the last two centuries participated in this debate and he analyzes how their views interacted with new developments such as Newtonian mechanics, stellar astronomy, Darwinian theory, and astrophysics. This fascinating and critical history shows that the longstanding and widespread belief in extraterrestrial life has for centuries acted to alter major areas of our intellectual life.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - AndreasJ - LibraryThing

Exhaustively and exhaustingly thorough, this book surveys a huge number of writers, famous and obscure, well-informed and otherwise, who wrote about extraterrestrial life between the mid-18th century ... Read full review

Contents

Astronomers and extraterrestrials
41
Extraterrestrials and the Enlightenment
81
The intensification of the plurality of worlds
167
Responses to Chalmers especially the one world
190
The decades before Whewell
216
pluralism questioned
265
Whewell in combat against all the rational
282
vii
285
a French Proctor?
378
surprising side effects
386
sending messages to
393
From World
400
Religious and scientific discussions
407
The battle over the planet of war
480
The early oppositions of our century and
524
the canal fallacy relegated into
540

Whewells first critic his earliest ally and the
293
pluralism defended
300
Geology versus
319
Mercury saturnine in Saturn and anything
325
other responses
346
New approaches to an ancient question
359
Some conclusions concerning the unconcluded
547
Interactions between extraterrestrial life ideas
557
bibliography of books on the question of
646
Name Index
659
Subject Index
674
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information