This introduction forecasts the book’s main argument, that caution was not Charles Darwin’s original attitude toward publishing, and lays out what is at stake in examining Darwin’s self-fashioning as a man of science. His reticent approach to publishing on evolution was a conscious attempt to avoid repeating missteps he felt he had taken as a rash young author of geological theories. While this book focuses on Darwin, its purpose is to answer broader questions about science as a vocation and a body of knowledge. Through analysis of how Darwin came to transcend the role of voyaging observer-collector to become a credible author of grand scientific theories, the book will draw lessons about the importance of face-to-face mentorship, the status of theorizing, and the cultivation of audiences in nineteenth-century science. The chapter’s end-notes contain extended discussions of, inter alia, “identity” as a category of analysis, Bruno Latour’s methods in science studies, and the Strong Programme in the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK).
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