The Pursuit of knowledge: Scientific Enquiry in His Dark Materials

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Abstract

This chapter explores the pursuit of knowledge in Pullman’s His Dark Materials, with a particular focus on scientific enquiry. This form of understanding represents a key epistemology in the series, although by no means the only one: other forms of knowledge – philosophical, poetic, sexual and so on – are also crucial to the narrative and often add nuance to the portrayals of science readers encounter. I explore the shifting ground Pullman covers, firstly by surveying the world of science in His Dark Materials; then by considering the key scientist figures (professional and amateur) in the trilogy and finally, by analysing the characterisation of Lyra and Will as natural enquirers. I suggest that the increasing importance of ‘connectedness’ can usefully be related to recent moves by some scientists to attempt a ‘theory of everything’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhilip Pullman. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. 58-75.
EditorsCatherine Butler, Halsdorf Tommy
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Pages58-75
ISBN (Print)9781137336798
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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