More Worlds than One; The Creed of the Philosopher and the Hope of the Christian.
by BREWSTER, Sir David (1781-1868).
London:: John Murray, 1854., 1854. Sm. 8vo. vii, , 262, 32 pp. Original blue blind- and gilt- stamped cloth; joints reinforced. Inscribed, lightly, "Professor Whewell." Very good. WHEWELL'S COPY OF BREWSTER'S REFUTATION OF HIS OWN WORK. First edition. Brewster was a Scottish polymath principally interested in optics (he invented the kaleidoscope) and mathematics, though he was also a noted astronomer and historian of science. This book was intended as a rebuttal to what Brewster perceived to be religious obstructionism in the realm of astronomy, and more broadly to argue that the earth is not the only inhabited planet in the universe. "In the course of his long life the Scottish physicist David Brewster wrote copiously about the plurality of worlds. More Worlds than One (1854), perhaps his strongest statement on the question, was written as an answer to William Whewell's On the Plurality of World (1853), which argued that life was a privilege of the Earth." – Miguel de Asúa, Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, 9(1); 83-92 (2006). Provenance: William Whewell (1794-1866) was an English scientist and philosopher, and the author of "On the Plurality Worlds" (1853), in which he argued that earth was probably the only inhabited planet in the universe. Brewster's disdain for Whewell's ideas is evident from his remarks in the preface, during which he describes the process of writing More Worlds than One largely as a result of an aborted attempt to review Whewell's On the Plurality of Worlds for the North British Review. He found Whewell's theories so distasteful that he immediately set out to refute them. In light of this, it's interesting to see be Whewell's ownership inscription on the book.
(Inventory #: SW1023)
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