Naming Nature

The Clash Between Instinct and Science

Carol Kaesuk Yoon (Author)


Finalist for the 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Science and Technology. “A lively blend of popular scientific history and cultural criticism.”—New York Times Book Review

Biologist Carol Kaesuk Yoon explores the historical tension between evolutionary biology and taxonomy. Carl Linnaeus struggled in the eighteenth century to define species in light of their mutability while still relying on intuitive, visual judgments. As taxonomy modernized, it moved into labs, yielding results counterintuitive to humanity’s innate predisposition to order the world. By conceding scientific authority to taxonomists, Yoon argues, we’ve contributed to our own alienation from nature.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • August 2010
  • ISBN 978-0-393-33871-3
  • 5.5 × 8.3 in / 352 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

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  1. Book CoverNaming Nature: The Clash Between Instinct and Science


Endorsements & Reviews

“A beautiful riddle of a book.” — Time Out New York

“Impossible to put down.” — Booklist

“Starred Review: Superb.” — Kirkus Reviews

“A sensuous delight to read.” — O, The Oprah Magazine

“Starred Review: Optimistic, exhilarating, and revolutionary.” — Publishers Weekly

“Bracing and brilliant.” — Boston Globe

“Ingenious . . . compelling.” — San Francisco Chronicle

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