Deconstructing Darwin: Evolutionary Theory in Context [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of the History of Biology 38 (1):137 - 152 (2005)
The topic of this paper is external versus internal explanations, first, of the genesis of evolutionary theory and, second, its reception. Victorian England was highly competitive and individualistic. So was the view of society promulgated by Malthus and the theory of evolution set out by Charles Darwin and A.R. Wallace. The fact that Darwin and Wallace independently produced a theory of evolution that was just as competitive and individualistic as the society in which they lived is taken as evidence for the impact that society has on science. The same conclusion is reached with respect to the reception of evolutionary theory. Because Darwin's contemporaries lived in such a competitive and individualistic society, they were prone to accept a theory that exhibited these same characteristics. The trouble is that Darwin and Wallace did not live in anything like the same society and did not formulate the same theory. Although the character of Victorian society may have influenced the acceptance of evolutionary theory, it was not the competitive, individualistic theory that Darwin and Wallace set out but a warmer, more comforting theory.
|Keywords||Darwin evolutionary theory externalism internalism natural selection Robert Young Victorian society Wallace|
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References found in this work BETA
David L. Hull (1988). Science as a Process an Evolutionary Account of the Social and Conceptual Development of Science. University of Chicago Press.
Michael T. Ghiselin (1973). The Triumph of the Darwinian Method. Philosophy of Science 40 (3):466-467.
J. Hodges & Gregory Radick (eds.) (2003). The Cambridge Companion to Darwin. Cambridge University Press.
Robert Chambers (1844/1970). Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation. New York, Humanities Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Trevor Pearce (2010). "A Great Complication of Circumstances" – Darwin and the Economy of Nature. Journal of the History of Biology 43 (3):493 - 528.
Melinda B. Fagan (2007). Wallace, Darwin, and the Practice of Natural History. Journal of the History of Biology 40 (4):601 - 635.
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