Publisher Information: Paris: Maradan, seconde annee... 1794. 1st edition. Lamarck, Jean Baptiste (1744-1829). Recherches sur les causes des principaux faits physiques. . . . 8vo. 2 vols. xvi, 375; , 412pp. Engraved plate by Bovinet after Marechal; printed folding table. Paris: Maradan, seconde annee de la Republique . 210 x 135 (uncut). Original plain wrappers, hand-lettered paper spine labels, front wrapper of Vol. I detached, spines worn, fore-edges frayed, lower corner of Vol. II back wrapper torn away. Minor foxing and toning, last leaf of Vol. II mended with tape. Italian bookseller's label on front wrapper. Book Id: 300
First Edition. Lamarck did not make any significant contributions to the science of chemistry, but his chemical theories played an important part in the development of his ideas on the origin of species, as they provided a materialistic definition of life, reproduction and evolution. Lamarck believed that fire was the most important of the four elements, and that its three states: natural, fixed, and a state of expansion (caloric fire)--were central to a great number of chemical and physical phenomena. He also believed that only living beings could produce chemical compounds, with the most complex compounds being produced by those animals with the most highly organized physiological structure; in the absence of life, these compounds would naturally decompose over time into their constituent elements, producing in the process all known inorganic substances. This mineral "chain of being," with continuous degradation from the most complex to the simplest, is similar to Lamarck's later theory of the evolution of species: each stressed the gradual and successive production of forms, while denying the relevance of defined species. Burkhardt, pp. 69-71; 96-103; 264. Duveen, p. 334. Norman 1260.