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Free Content Grandeur in this View of Life: Darwin and the Ocean World

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Darwin's experience during the Beagle voyage shaped both the form and the content of his scientific work. His experience was both aesthetic and emotional, appreciating the wholeness of nature, and analytical and conceptual, understanding the world through theoretical structures. Contrary to what he wrote, his theories, derived intuitively, had primacy over facts. The coral reef theory, for example, was worked out in South America, and could not be proved by factual observation. The criterion for acceptance of such theories is not truth but usefulness: Darwin thus viewed theories as tools for understanding rather than as factual generalizations. His achievement was thus not to provide answers to problems but rather to show how to seek them.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 1983

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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