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T. H. Huxley

(1825—1895) biologist and science educationist

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was assistant surgeon on HMS Rattlesnake, 1846–50. His surveys of marine life on the Australian Barrier Reef appeared as papers for the Royal and Linnean Societies (see linnaeus), he was elected FRS in 1851, and in 1854 became professor of Natural History at the Royal School of Mines. He wrote extensively on specialist subjects, but also became widely known and admired as a lecturer to lay audiences. His views on religion, education, philosophy and evolution, and on man's newly conceived place in the universe (e.g. in Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature, 1863, Evolution and Ethics, 1893, and other essays) had a profound impact on 19th‐cent. thought. He was a friend of Darwin, and an influential though discriminating supporter of his theories. He coined the word ‘agnostic’ to describe his own philosophical position, which he expounded at the Metaphysical Society and in the Nineteenth Century. His Collected Essays were published in 1893–4, his Scientific Memoirs in 1898–1903, and his Life and Letters, edited by his son Leonard, in 1900–93.

Subjects: Philosophy

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