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Darwin's Man in BrazilThe Evolving Science of Fritz Müller$
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David A. West

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062600

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062600.001.0001

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The Development of Fritz Müller’s Worldview, 1822–1852

The Development of Fritz Müller’s Worldview, 1822–1852

(p.8) 1 The Development of Fritz Müller’s Worldview, 1822–1852
Darwin's Man in Brazil

David A. West

University Press of Florida

Chapter 1 presents Müller’s family background, education, university studies, intellectual development, and early writings. At Frederick William University of Berlin he studied anatomy, mathematics, natural history, physics, physiology, and zoology, completing a PhD dissertation on leech systematics under zoologist Johannes Müller. He also studied botany at Greifswald University. One topic of particular interest for Müller during his university studies was the mutability of species. Müller was preoccupied with freedom of conscience in the oppressive Prussian state. He became a freethinker and antireligious atheist with leftist political leanings. To avoid a loyalty oath that presupposed commitment to Christianity, he abandoned a high school teaching career and returned to Greifswald to pursue an M.D., hoping to become a ship’s doctor (which required no such oath), but he refused to sit for required exams that required a similar oath. This strong independence of mind reflects a lifelong pattern of advocacy at great personal cost, of unpopular views in politics, religion, science, and social matters.

Keywords:   education, botany, zoology, natural history, species mutability, freedom of conscience, Prussia, independence

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