Debating Darwin by Robert J. RichardsDebating Darwin by Robert J. Richards

Debating Darwin

byRobert J. Richards, Michael Ruse

Hardcover | September 10, 2016

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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.
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...
Title:Debating DarwinFormat: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

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Table of Contents

Charles Darwin: Great Briton (Michael Ruse)
Britain before Darwin
A Child of His Class
Evolution and Natural Selection
On the Origin of Species
Charles Darwin: Cosmopolitan Thinker (Robert J. Richards)
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
Response to Ruse
The Language of Metaphor
Evolutionary Development as Progressive
Individual versus Group Selection
The Evolution of Morality
Reply to Richards
Levels of Selection
The Romantic Influence
Alexander von Humboldt
Paradise Lost
History of Evolutionary Biology since the Origin of Species
Human Consciousness
Religion and God

Editorial Reviews

"I learned a great deal reading the complicated and intellectually demanding Debating Darwin, over and over, more times than I can count during the eight months the book has been in my hands. I recommend it to every serious evolutionary biologist and to those armchair evolutionists who remain fascinated with Darwin’s century, and to teachers of history and philosophy."