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Jacques Roger examines what kind of readership Buffon had in mind when writing his Histoire naturelle. He wrote it in French, not Latin, thus addressing it to the educated general reader, not the e...stablished scientific elite, the 'vulgar scientists', as he called them, who were blinded by prejudice. In his writings he demonstrated that the human race was the same the world over, thus destroying scientific reasons which supported slavery. Like other Enlightenment thinkers, he was influenced by Newton's idea of gravitation, of an invisible force acting within matter, which Buffon used in order to explain assimilation and reproduction, which he described as a natural process. This approach was new, when most scientists believed that every living thing was created by God at the beginning of the world, His fonmila was: "in physics one must...avoid having recourse to causes outside Nature." Thus creation by God is not a scientific explanation.
Metadata describing this Open University audio programme
Module code and title: A204, The Enlightenment
Item code: A204; 17
Recording date: 1979-10-17
First transmission date: 10-06-1980
Published: 1980
Rights Statement: Rights owned or controlled by The Open University
Restrictions on use: This material can be used in accordance with The Open University conditions of use. A link to the conditions can be found at the bottom of all OUDA web pages.
Duration: 00:17:45
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Producer: Helen Rapp
Contributors: Malcolm Hayes; Jacques Roger
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Histoire naturelle; Slavery
Master spool number: TLN42950H818
Production number: TLN42950H818
Available to public: no