Debating Darwin

Hardcover | September 10, 2016

byRobert J. Richards, Michael Ruse

not yet rated|write a review
Charles Darwin is easily the most famous scientist of the modern age, and his theory of evolution is constantly referenced in many contexts by scientists and nonscientists alike. And yet, despite how frequently his ideas are evoked, there remains a surprising amount we don’t know about the father of modern evolutionary thinking, his intellectual roots, and the science he produced. Debating Darwin seeks to change that, bringing together two leading Darwin scholars—Robert J. Richards and Michael Ruse—to engage in a spirited and insightful dialogue, offering their interpretations of Darwin and their critiques of each other’s thinking.
            Examining key disagreements about Darwin that continue to confound even committed Darwinists, Richards and Ruse offer divergent views on the origins and nature of Darwin and his ideas. Ruse argues that Darwin was quintessentially British and that the roots of his thought can be traced back to the eighteenth century, particularly to the Industrial Revolution and thinkers such as Adam Smith and Thomas Robert Malthus. Ruse argues that when these influences are appreciated, we can see how Darwin’s work in biology is an extension of their theories. In contrast, Richards presents Darwin as a more cosmopolitan, self-educated man, influenced as much by French and particularly German thinkers.  Above all, argues Richards, it was Alexander von Humboldt who both inspired Darwin and gave him the conceptual tools that he needed to find and formulate his evolutionary hypotheses. Together, the authors show how the reverberations of the contrasting views on Darwin’s influences can be felt in theories about the nature of natural selection, the role of metaphor in science, and the place of God in Darwin’s thought.
            Revealing how much there still is to investigate and interrogate about Darwin’s ideas, Debating Darwin contributes to our understanding of evolution itself. The book concludes with a jointly authored chapter that brings this debate into the present, focusing on human evolution, consciousness, religion, and morality. This will be powerful, essential reading for anyone seeking a comprehensive understanding of modern-day evolutionary science and philosophy.
 

Pricing and Purchase Info

$39.00

In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

Charles Darwin is easily the most famous scientist of the modern age, and his theory of evolution is constantly referenced in many contexts by scientists and nonscientists alike. And yet, despite how frequently his ideas are evoked, there remains a surprising amount we don’t know about the father of modern evolutionary thinking, his in...

Robert J. Richards is the Morris Fishbein Distinguished Service Professor in History of Science at the University of Chicago, where he is professor in the departments of history, philosophy, and psychology and in the Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science and directs the Fishbein Center for the History of Science and...

other books by Robert J. Richards

Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain
Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain

Paperback|Feb 15 2014

$22.93 online$25.95list price(save 11%)
The United Irishmen, Their Lives And Times
The United Irishmen, Their Lives And Times

Hardcover|Nov 16 2015

$40.74 online$44.50list price(save 8%)
Networking Fundamentals
Networking Fundamentals

Hardcover|Jan 1 2005

$53.75 online$107.50list price(save 50%)
see all books by Robert J. Richards
Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.7 inPublished:September 10, 2016Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022638442X

ISBN - 13:9780226384429

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of Debating Darwin

Reviews

Extra Content

Table of Contents

Preface
Timeline
Charles Darwin: Great Briton (Michael Ruse)
Prologue
Britain before Darwin
A Child of His Class
Evolution and Natural Selection
On the Origin of Species
Humans
Envoi
Charles Darwin: Cosmopolitan Thinker (Robert J. Richards)
Introduction
Sketch of Darwin’s Life and Works
Literature of Significance for Darwin: Romanticism and Natural Theology
The Romantic Foundations of Darwin’s Theory
Darwin’s Scientific Theology
Darwin’s Construction of His Theory
Man, the Moral Animal
Conclusion
Response to Ruse
The Language of Metaphor
Teleology
Evolutionary Development as Progressive
Individual versus Group Selection
The Evolution of Morality
Conclusion
 
Reply to Richards
Levels of Selection
Embryology
The Romantic Influence
Alexander von Humboldt
Paradise Lost
Epilogue
History of Evolutionary Biology since the Origin of Species
Human Consciousness
Religion and God
Notes
Bibliography
Index
 

Editorial Reviews

“Charles Darwin’s ideas were controversial from the outset, so much so that Darwin’s friend and supporter Thomas Henry Huxley said he sharpened up his claws and beak in order to defend them. Here in this volume the debate continues as two world-renowned historians explore what Darwin’s proposals meant in his own day and to us now. The issue at stake is how best to understand Darwin as a thinker—was he influenced primarily by his personal social context, the industrializing entrepreneurial world of Britain in the Victorian era, or was he more in touch with the great intellectual currents flourishing in continental Europe?  How did these questions influence his religious sensibilities and those of his readers? Back and forth, the ripostes sparkle with intellectual energy. Through Ruse’s and Richards’ eyes, we can see Darwin afresh, as the enthralling historical figure who not only transformed biology but also our deepest sense of who we are.”