Revisiting the Origin of Species: The Other Darwins, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Revisiting the Origin of Species

The Other Darwins, 1st Edition

By Thierry Hoquet


252 pages

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pub: 2018-08-13
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Contemporary interest in Darwin rises from a general ideal of what Darwin’s books ought to contain: a theory of transformation of species by natural selection. However, a reader opening Darwin’s masterpiece, On the Origin of Species, today may be struck by the fact that this "selectionist" view does not deliver the key to many aspects of the book. Without contesting the importance of natural selection to Darwinism, much less supposing that a fully-formed "Darwinism" stepped out of Darwin’s head in 1859, this innovative volume aims to return to the text of the Origin itself.

Revisiting the 'Origin of Species' focuses on Darwin as theorising on the origin of variations; showing that Darwin himself was never a pan-selectionist (in contrast to some of his followers) but was concerned with "other means of modification" (which makes him an evolutionary pluralist). Furthermore, in contrast to common textbook presentations of "Darwinism", Hoquet stresses the fact that On the Origin of Species can lend itself to several contradictory interpretations. Thus, this volume identifies where rival interpretations have taken root; to unearth the ambiguities readers of Darwin have latched onto as they have produced a myriad of Darwinian legacies, each more or less faithful enough to the originator’s thought.

Emphasising the historical features, complexities and intricacies of Darwin’s argument, Revisiting the 'Origin of Species' can be used by any lay readers opening Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. This volume will also appeal to students and researchers interested in areas such as Evolution, Natural Selection, Scientific Translations and Origins of Life.

Table of Contents

Introduction. The meanings of "Darwinism"

Part I. Darwin-the-Selectionist and beyond

Chapter 1. A labyrinthine Origin

Chapter 2. Diffracting Darwin’s title— The prism of translations

Chapter 3. "One long argument"? Darwin-the-Selectionist

Part II. Darwin-the-Variationist

Chapter 4. Darwin-the-Epicurean. Chance and laws of variation.

Chapter 5. Darwin-the-Teleologist. Are all variations useful?

Chapter 6. Darwin-the-Lamarckian and the Other "Means of Modification"

Part III. Radical origins: Darwin-the-Cosmologist

Chapter 7. "Mystery of mysteries": the temptation of origin

Chapter 8. "Originally Breathed": or, on the Origin of Life

Chapter 9. "Light will be thrown": or, on the Origin of Mankind

Chapter 10. Darwin-the-Darwinist, Or the Quest for Systematic Coherency

Conclusion. Darwinisms, or Darwin Diffracted

About the Author

Thierry Hoquet is Professor of Philosophy of Science in the Department of Philosophy at Paris Nanterre University, France.

About the Series

History and Philosophy of Biology

This series explores significant developments in the life sciences from historical and philosophical perspectives. Historical episodes include Aristotelian biology, Greek and Islamic biology and medicine, Renaissance biology, natural history, Darwinian evolution, Nineteenth-century physiology and cell theory, Twentieth-century genetics, ecology, and systematics, and the biological theories and practices of non-Western perspectives. Philosophical topics include individuality, reductionism and holism, fitness, levels of selection, mechanism and teleology, and the nature-nurture debates, as well as explanation, confirmation, inference, experiment, scientific practice, and models and theories vis-à-vis the biological sciences.

Authors are also invited to inquire into the "and" of this series. How has, does, and will the history of biology impact philosophical understandings of life? How can philosophy help us analyze the historical contingency of, and structural constraints on, scientific knowledge about biological processes and systems? In probing the interweaving of history and philosophy of biology, scholarly investigation could usefully turn to values, power, and potential future uses and abuses of biological knowledge.

The scientific scope of the series includes evolutionary theory, environmental sciences, genomics, molecular biology, systems biology, biotechnology, biomedicine, race and ethnicity, and sex and gender. These areas of the biological sciences are not silos, and tracking their impact on other sciences such as psychology, economics, and sociology, and the behavioral and human sciences more generally, is also within the purview of this series.

Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), and Visiting Scholar of Philosophy at Stanford University (2015-2016). He works in the philosophy of science and philosophy of biology and has strong interests in metaphysics, epistemology, and political philosophy, in addition to cartography and GIS, cosmology and particle physics, psychological and cognitive science, and science in general. Recent publications include "The Structure of Scientific Theories," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and "Race and Biology," The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Race. His book with University of Chicago Press, When Maps Become the World, is forthcoming.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General