Animal cunning: deceptive nature and truthful science in Charles Kingsley's Natural theology

Abberley, Will (2015) Animal cunning: deceptive nature and truthful science in Charles Kingsley's Natural theology. Victorian Studies, 58 (1). ISSN 0042-5222

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Abstract

Charles Kingsley’s natural theology hinged upon his faith in nature’s “truthfulness.” He conceptualized nature as a divine text that both exemplified truthfulness and preached it symbolically. However, this view was undermined as modern science increasingly revealed ruthless deception and parasitism throughout the organic world. Faced with such seemingly amoral facts, Kingsley often located divine truthfulness less in nature itself than in the naturalist studying it. Yet moralizing scientific habits in this way
would ultimately undermine Kingsley’s argument for moral meaning in the natural world. His efforts to conflate moral and factual truth were bound up with his struggle to defend
his authority as an interpreter of nature as emerging secular science threatened to both usurp and invalidate this authority.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Depositing User: Will Abberley
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2015 11:32
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2016 10:59
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/56638
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