Diderot and the Metamorphosis of Species (Hardback) book cover

Diderot and the Metamorphosis of Species

By Mary Gregory

© 2007 – Routledge

232 pages

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About the Book

In this study Dr. Gregory examines how Diderot borrowed from Lucretius, Buffon, Maupertuis, and probability theory, and combined ideas from these sources in an innovative fashion to hypothesize that species are mutable and that all life arose randomly from a single prototype.

Table of Contents


  1. Chaos, Flux, Time, and Probability
  2. Embryology, Epigenesis, and the Metamorphosis of Species
  3. Spontaneous Generation
  4. The Chain of Beings
  5. The Mutability of Species
  6. The Ascent of Consciousness





About the Author

Mary Gregory is a scholar of the French Enlightenment. For the past ten years she has been researching Diderot’s views regarding the metamorphosis of species in four of his texts, namely, the Pensées philosophiques (1746), the Lettre sur les aveugles à l’usage de ceux qui voient (1749), the Pensées sur l’interprétation de la nature (1753), and the trilogy, the Entretien entre d’Alembert et Diderot (1769), the Rêve de d’Alembert (1769), and the Suite de l’Entretien (1769).

About the Series

Studies in Philosophy

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Metaphysics
PHILOSOPHY / Methodology