Please read the course materials for the week and then participate in this discussion by answering ONE of the following questions. Your response should be a minimum of 250 words.

  • How does the attempt to control and codify plants and animals lead to eugenics? How are both of these views optimistic? Pessimistic?
  • How does the attempt to control and codify plants and animals lead to Spencer’s extreme model of total non-interference? As with the above question, both are optimistic views but seem so very different. In what ways are they related?
  • Historians and scientists alike are admonished not to set out in their research to prove something. Rather they should set out to answer questions. How do the Holocaust and compulsory sterilization in the U.S. serve as a warning to researchers to follow this advice?
  • How do you see the particular interests of women doctors in the areas of contagious diseases and birth control relating to other theories alive at the time, such as eugenics or Spencer’s philosophy or sterilization?
  • Choose one of the following. Assuming that all things except worldview are equal (scientific know-how, medical ability, economic structure), explain why one of the following would or would not have been possible in the year 1200. In other words how do these ideas fit or not fit with the worldview of the period? This question would serve as good preparation for the Project Proposal.
    • The codification of plants and animals (including any or all of the researchers from the beginning of the chapter)
    • Spencer’s philosophy