David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of the History of Biology 42 (3):399 - 416 (2009)
When socio-economic contexts are sought for Darwin's science, it is customary to turn to the Industrial Revolution. However, important issues about the long run of England's capitalisms can only be recognised by taking a wider view than Industrial Revolution historiographies tend to engage. The role of land and finance capitalisms in the development of the empire is one such issue. If we historians of Darwin's science allow ourselves a distinction between land and finance capitalisms on the one hand and industrial capitalism on the other; and if we ask with which side of this divide were Darwin and his theory of branching descent by natural selection aligned, then reflection on leading features of that theory, including its Malthusian elements, suggests that the answer is often and largely, though not exclusively: on the land side. The case of Wallace, socialist opponent of land capitalism, may not be as anomalous for this suggestion as one might at first think. Social and economic historians have reached no settled consensuses on the long-run of England's capitalisms. We historians of Darwin's science would do well to import some of these unsettled states of discussion into our own work over the years to come.
|Keywords||Darwin Wallace Malthus natural selection capitalism land finance empire industry industrial revolution class political economy population|
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References found in this work BETA
J. Hodges & Gregory Radick (eds.) (2003). The Cambridge Companion to Darwin. Cambridge University Press.
Dov Ospovat & Michael T. Ghiselin (1996). The Development of Darwin's Theory: Natural History, Natural Theology & Natural Selection 1838-1859. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 18 (3):363.
David Kohn (2009). Darwin's Keystone : The Principle of Divergence. In Michael Ruse & Robert J. Richards (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the "Origin of Species". Cambridge University Press
James Moore (2005). Revolution of the Space Invaders: Darwin and Wallace on the Geography of Life. In David N. Livingstone & Charles W. J. Withers (eds.), Geography and Revolution. University of Chicago Press
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