Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Dreamers, Visionaries, and Revolutionaries in the Life Sciences$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Oren Harman and Michael R. Dietrich

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226569871

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226570075.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 28 July 2021

James Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis

James Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis

Archetypical Visionary

(p.272) 17 James Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis
Dreamers, Visionaries, and Revolutionaries in the Life Sciences

Sébastien Dutreuil

University of Chicago Press

After a career as a chemist and engineer, James Lovelock proposed the Gaia hypothesis in the 1970s with Lynn Margulis, a biologist. The hypothesis highlights the important influence that living beings have on their geological environment to speculate about the possibility of a regulation of the planetary environment. From the beginning Lovelock saw Gaia as a grand idea, challenging the way biology and geology should be carried out, up to our very conception of nature. This chapter recalls the rich context in which the hypothesis was elaborated in the 1960s and 1970s. It then traces Gaia’s contrasted reception. Whereas evolutionary biologists ridiculed it as a pseudo-metaphor comparing the earth with an organism, Gaia has generated new research programs in the earth sciences and has been embraced by the environmental counterculture as a new conception of nature and of our relationships with the earth.

Keywords:   Gaia hypothesis, James Lovelock, Lynn Margulis, global environment, environmental counterculture, earth system science, Daisyworld, DMS, IGBP, anthropocene

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.