The Darwinian Heritage

The Darwinian Heritage

Copyright Date: 1985
Pages: 1152
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  • Book Info
    The Darwinian Heritage
    Book Description:

    Representing the present rich state of historical work on Darwin and Darwinism, this volume of essays places the great theorist in the context of Victorian science. The book includes contributions by some of the most distinguished senior figures of Darwin scholarship and by leading younger scholars who have been transforming Darwinian studies. The result is the most comprehensive survey available of Darwin's impact on science and society.

    Originally published in 1988.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5471-4
    Subjects: General Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Contributors
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Introduction: A High Regard for Darwin
    (pp. 1-6)
    David Kohn

    The Darwinian Heritagerepresents the present rich state of historical work on Darwin and Darwinism. The common thread of the essays in this volume is a sensitivity to the pressing need to place Darwin in the context of Victorian science. The organization of the work reflects the goal of building bridges between the study of an individual and his place in scientific culture. Part One,The Evolution of a Theorist, explores Darwin’s growth as a scientific thinker from his student days in Edinburgh to the writing of theOrigin of Species. Part Two,Darwin in Victorian Context, examines both Darwin’s...

  5. Part One: The Evolution of a Theorist
    • 1 Going the Limit: Toward the Construction of Darwin’s Theory (1832–1839)
      (pp. 9-34)
      Howard E. Gruber

      As a cognitive psychologist, my forays into the history of science have as their ultimate aim to contribute something to the psychology of thinking and the psychology of creativity. I hoped to learn from historical studies, and enrich my own rather crabbed, often Philistine field. In the course of this effort, my students and I found ourselves developing what we now call, quite provisionally, an “evolving systems approach to creative work” (Gruber 1980a, b).

      In this view, creative work is seen as a purposeful growth process. Much work on the psychology of creativity reveals a certain tropism toward monolithicity. In...

    • 2 The Wider British Context in Darwin’s Theorizing
      (pp. 35-70)
      Silvan S. Schweber

      TheOrigin of Specieswas the culmination of Darwin’s theorizing of the previous twenty years. Its unique role in delineating the subsequent debates over all aspects of evolution account for the enduring interest in the construction of theOriginand the intellectual and other factors that helped shape its final form. We know from Darwin’s correspondence that he saw himself as constantly engaged in “species-work” during the period from 1840 to 1854. It was “far-distant work” but he did indicate to several of his correspondents that he intended to write a book on the species question, though he would “not...

    • 3 Darwin’s Invertebrate Program, 1826–1836: Preconditions for Transformism
      (pp. 71-120)
      Phillip R. Sloan

      A source of difficulty in demonstrating a fundamental coherence in Darwin’s intellectual development has been created by a tendency to read his scientific thought as developing through a linear sequence of historical stages, each tending to replace the previous one. In terms of this familiar sequence, the Edinburgh years stand as an apparently self-contained period, leaving no mark of interest after 1827. Cambridge divinity studies and amateurish “beetle collecting” still seem to define for us the pre–BeagleDarwin, a stage which terminated when this somewhat unfocussed Cambridge gentleman was chosen to accompany theBeagleas its naturalist. TheBeagle-Lyellian...

    • 4 Darwin’s Early Intellectual Development: An Overview of the Beagle Voyage (1831–1836)
      (pp. 121-154)
      Frank J. Sulloway

      In December 1831 H.M.S.Beagledeparted England on a five-year circumnavigation of the globe. The principal objectives of theBeagle’s voyage were to survey the southern coast of South America and to perform a series of chronometric measurements around the world. On board as ship’s naturalist sailed a young man, Charles Robert Darwin, who had yet to pass his twenty-third birthday. Earlier that year Darwin had taken a degree at Cambridge University, without honors, in preparation for becoming a clergyman. His self-described qualifications for the post of ship’s naturalist were those of an amateur “hunter of beetles, and pounder of...

    • 5 Owen and Darwin Reading a Fossil: Macrauchenia in a Boney Light
      (pp. 155-184)
      Stan P. Rachootin

      The earliest record we have of Darwin theorizing about the transmutation of species was written in March 1837 in a notebook labeledRN(127–131). These few hundred words at first seem impenetrable. By virtue of their conciseness and obscurity, they seem almost like the great thought caught at the moment of its birth. No bit of Darwiniana has inspired so much careful study; it is the Darwinist’s shroud of Turin.

      Sandra Herbert (1980) has given us the entire text of the notebook and she has used the contents of the rest of the notebook to show that this passage...

    • 6 The Immediate Origins of Natural Selection
      (pp. 185-206)
      M. J. S. Hodge and David Kohn

      Two decades of studies of the early notebooks have illumined the origins of Darwin’s theory of natural selection far beyond what was possible at the 1959 centennial when biographers still relied on Darwin’s later reminiscences.

      The theory was arrived at during the months from Summer 1838 to Spring 1839 as Darwin was filling hisNotebooksD and E.¹ We offer here a brief narrative of this theoretical discovery, drawing on more detailed analyses given, with fuller reference to the secondary literature, in Kohn (1980) and in Hodge (1982; forthcoming). Of accounts by others, ours agrees most closely with the late...

    • 7 Darwin as a Lifelong Generation Theorist
      (pp. 207-244)
      M. J. S. Hodge

      Darwin as a lifelong generation theorist is a theme that can contribute very directly to any centennial reinterpretation of the Darwinian heritage.

      Generation, here, concerns not only the production of an offspring by two parents; or any asexual productions from one parent, in budding say; or any from none at all, as in spontaneous generation. For Darwin extends the term to include the generation or propagation of new species from old; and even beyond that the propagation of the whole tree of life. The full range of Darwin’s biological thought is thus confronted.

      It is confronted, moreover, in a way...

    • 8 Darwin’s Principle of Divergence as Internal Dialogue
      (pp. 245-258)
      David Kohn

      However strongly we may see scientific ideas as socially and culturally contingent in their origin and expression, we must acknowledge that they are also the products of individuals. Hence even if we all consider scientific activity to be the reworking of prior scientific activity, the dynamics by which individual scientists develop their theories is a subject integral to the history of science. If we accept the proposition that knowledge grows by public and critical dialogue, we should not ignore the fact that important phases of the dialogue may occur within an individual. Such is the case for Charles Darwin, who...

    • 9 Darwin’s Intellectual Development (Commentary)
      (pp. 259-264)
      Giuliano Pancaldi

      If I were to give a title to my comments on the papers by Sulloway, Schweber, and Kohn I would suggest “Disciplines to work by”. To explain what I mean, I would add that I want to make a plea for a discipline approach to the study of Darwin’s intellectual development. “Disciplines to work by” is of course an allusion to David Kohn’s well-known essay entitled “Theories to work by” (1980), which alludes in its turn to a crucial sentence in Darwin’sAutobiography(p. 120). That I have substituted “disciplines” for “theories” is connected with the point I wish to...

    • 10 Speaking of Species: Darwin’s Strategy
      (pp. 265-282)
      John Beatty

      There is a wealth of secondary literature on Darwin’s species concept, covering many different perspectives of the topic.¹ Of the various accounts available, I have always been particularly intrigued by Frank Sulloway’s suggestion that Darwin’s choice of species concept was guided by “tactical” considerations. Among those tactical considerations was the decision to employ his fellow naturalists’ species concept, in order to speak to them “in their own language” (Sulloway 1979, p. 37). Implicit in the suggestion is that Darwin was a member of a fairly clear-cut community of naturalists. In order to communicate with them about natural history, either to...

    • 11 The Ascent of Nature in Darwin’s Descent of Man
      (pp. 283-306)
      John R. Durant

      It is a fact familiar to all historians of science that Darwin was extremely slow to put his most important ideas into print. Having become a convinced transmutationist in 1837, he made such rapid progress over the next few years that he soon foresaw the prospect of writing a work that would revolutionize natural history. Yet it was not until 1844 that he produced an essay that was suitable for publication by his family in the event of his death; and fourteen years later, the unexpected arrival of Wallace’s short paper “On the tendency of varieties to depart indefinitely from...

    • 12 Darwin and the Expression of the Emotions
      (pp. 307-326)
      Janet Browne

      In a letter to Thomas Henry Huxley about an advance copy of theVariation, Charles Darwin added a short note to Mrs Huxley, the long suffering and redoubtable Henrietta: “Give Mrs Huxley the enclosed,” he suggested, “and ask her to look out when one of her children is struggling and just going to burst out crying.” What, he wanted to know for instance, did Leonard Huxley’s eyebrows do? “A dear young lady near here plagued a very young child for my sake, till it cried, and saw the eyebrows for a second or two beautifully oblique, just before the torrent...

    • 13 Darwin on Animal Behavior and Evolution
      (pp. 327-366)
      Richard W. Burkhardt Jr.

      In an obituary notice of 1882 examining the causes of Darwin’s success and the importance of Darwin’s works, the Genevan botanist and pioneer of the history of science Alphonse de Candolle identified two characteristics in particular that had made Darwin such an exceptional thinker. One was Darwin’s ability to occupy himself simultaneously with both the smallest details and the broadest theoretical considerations. The other was the extraordinaryrangeof Darwin’s researches and the way that each of Darwin’s separate studies, however specialized, contributed to the whole of Darwin’soeuvre(Candolle 1882).

      Although de Candolle did not elaborate upon how the...

    • 14 Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace: Two Decades of Debate over Natural Selection
      (pp. 367-432)
      Malcolm Jay Kottler

      Much of Darwin scholarship in recent years has focussed on the very private Charles Darwin, talking and thinkingto himselfin hisTransmutation, M, and NNotebooksas well as other strictly personal writings. Less attention has been given to the large number of close intellectual relationships Darwin formed with other naturalists, such as John Henslow, Charles Lyell, Joseph Hooker, Asa Gray, T. H. Huxley, and Alfred Russel Wallace. Since these dialogues — conducted primarily through correspondence and thus accessible to historical analysis — often resulted in the clarification or even modification of Darwin’s views, they certainly require thorough study...

  6. Part Two: Darwin in Victorian Context
    • 15 Darwin of Down: The Evolutionist as Squarson-Naturalist
      (pp. 435-482)
      James R. Moore

      Ever since the English establishment appropriated the body of Charles Darwin and buried it in Westminster Abbey, the interpretation of Darwin’s religious life has been controversial. Right from the start partisan opinion was divided; explanations had to be dredged up pro and con. No sooner had the coffin sunk ironically beneath the Abbey pavement than the flotsam of Darwin’s religious life began to surface in the press. On the weekend the evangelicalRecordreported how the Lord Bishop of Derry had told a crowd of cheering clergymen about Darwin’s support for Church of England missions. Some months later readers of...

    • 16 Darwin the Young Geologist
      (pp. 483-510)
      Sandra Herbert

      The question I propose to answer in this paper is this: was the work Charles Darwin did as a young geologist compatible with the development of the field of geology in England in the 1830s, and, if so, how? I shall begin by outlining what I see as the major features of the development of geology as a field in England during the period. First, however, I should like to quote a statement on the subject by Martin Rudwick:

      The dominant cognitive goal of geologists at this period was to discover the true order of succession of the strata and...

    • 17 Darwin and the World of Geology (Commentary)
      (pp. 511-518)
      Martin J. S. Rudwick

      This note is a brief comment on Herbert’s interpretation of Darwin’s first chosen field of serious scientific research, the field in which he first earned respect as a highly competent “gentleman of science”. Herbert takes as her text a published comment of mine about what I termed the “dominant cognitive goal” of geologists at the period when Darwin joined their company (1979, pp. 10–11). I want to explain why this did not in fact imply a “narrow definition” of geology, and why there is therefore no paradox in identifying Darwin (and of course his older mentor Lyell) as central...

    • 18 Darwin and the Breeders: A Social History
      (pp. 519-542)
      James A. Secord

      In 1898, sixteen years after the death of Charles Darwin and two years after that of his wife Emma, the fate of their famous residence at Down was highly uncertain. The aging botanist Joseph Hooker, writing to Darwin’s son George, suggested that the historic house might well be saved for future generations by turning it to practical use as an experimental station for the study of animal breeding (Atkins 1974, p. 101). Although never taken up, the idea was an appropriate one. Almost from the very beginning of his career as a transmutationist, Darwin looked to the work of animal...

    • 19 Darwin’s Reading and the Fictions of Development
      (pp. 543-588)
      Gillian Beer

      Darwin’s writing profoundly unsettled the received relationships between fiction, metaphor, and the material world. That power of his was nurtured by his omnivorous reading. None of Darwin’s reading seems to have been in vain. It was all useable, and used, though relatively little of it was undertaken in a utilitarian spirit. We might apply the remarks of one of his favorite authors, Sir Thomas Browne, who wrote in theReligio Medici(1642): “Natura nihil agit frustra, is the only indisputable axiom in Philosophy; there are noGrotesquesin nature; nor any thing framed to fill up empty cantons, and unnecessary...

    • 20 Three Notes on the Reception of Darwin’s Ideas on Natural Selection (Henry Baker Tristram, Alfred Newton, Samuel Wilberforce)
      (pp. 589-608)
      I. Bernard Cohen

      It is well known that Darwin’s theory of evolution was founded in the first instance on two kinds of observations: the occurrence of variations in animals and plants and the inheritability of such variations. In the opening chapter of theOrigin, Darwin refers specifically to the existence of variation among “individuals of the same variety or sub-variety” and to the “endless” “number and diversity of inheritable deviations of structure, both those of slight and those of considerable physiological importance” (pp. 7,12). Since far more individuals are regularly produced than can possibly survive, there is a consequent “struggle for life” or...

    • 21 Darwinism Is Social
      (pp. 609-638)
      Robert M. Young

      It strikes me that there should be little need for this paper. Only positivists believe that scientific facts and theories are separate from human meanings and values, and even they, inconsistently, set out to extrapolate human and social conclusions from putatively decontextualized facts. Only religious fundamentalists believe that a belief in God cannot be reconciled with science, and that true religion is based on the literal truth of Scripture. This is a sort of religious positivism, as is the notion of creation science, which the ultra-right is currently deploying in opposition to a vulnerable, neo-Darwinian scientific orthodoxy, as part of...

  7. Part Three: Towards The Comparative Reception of Darwinism
    • 22 Scientific Attitudes to Darwinism in Britain and America
      (pp. 641-682)
      Peter J. Bowler

      Certain images spring immediately to mind whenever the scientific reaction to Darwinism is mentioned. For many, Thomas Henry Huxley’s response to Bishop Samuel Wilberforce at the Oxford BAAS meeting in 1860 symbolizes the scientists’ refusal to bow to outside pressure. Huxley’s debate with Richard Owen over man’s relationship to the apes illustrates the clash between the radical and conservative responses within science, as do the efforts of Asa Gray and William Barton Rogers to defend Darwinism against the attacks of Louis Agassiz in the United States. Many laymen no doubt assume that once the initial opposition was overcome, Darwinism soon...

    • 23 Darwinism in Germany, France, and Italy
      (pp. 683-730)
      Pietro Corsi and Paul J. Weindling

      The eleven-year interval since the conference on the reception of Darwinism organized by Thomas F. Glick (1974) has witnessed important changes in research on evolutionary ideas in Europe. More case studies on Germany have appeared; Professor Yvette Conry has published her large volume on French non-reactions to Darwin; and a new generation of Italian historians of science has undertaken to explore the immense and immensely under-researched territory of Italian reactions to Darwin. Yet at present, as in 1972, the task of offering a balanced comparative assessment of Darwinian debates within the major European countries proves daunting. For the most part,...

    • 24 Darwin and Russian Evolutionary Biology
      (pp. 731-752)
      Francesco M. Scudo and Michele Acanfora

      As is well known, Darwin produced a large number of theories, many of which dealt explicitly with evolution or special aspects of it, and many others of which were closely related to problems in evolution, although the evolutionary aspect was only implicit. Furthermore, throughout his life Darwin varied the emphasis he placed on different processes and mechanisms, and, for some of them, he radically altered his position. In his published works, Darwin hardly ever indicated precisely how any single topic he discussed could or should be connected with other topics, in an overall interpretative framework of evolutionary phenomena. Thus there...

  8. Part Four: Perspectives on Darwin and Darwinism
    • 25 Darwin’s Five Theories of Evolution
      (pp. 755-772)
      Ernst Mayr

      In recent controversies on evolution one frequently finds references to “Darwin’s theory of evolution”, as though it were a unitary entity. In reality Darwin’s “theory” of evolution was a whole bundle of theories, and it is impossible to discuss Darwin’s evolutionary thought constructively if one does not distinguish the various components of which it consists. But quite aside from the fact that it helps understanding of the structure of evolutionary theory, to carry the analysis to the level of the subtheories Darwin adopted, it is important to call attention to the composite nature of the Darwinian theory for three very...

    • 26 Darwinism as a Historical Entity: A Historiographic Proposal
      (pp. 773-812)
      David L. Hull

      In a recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, several eminent scientists addressed the question: What happened to Darwinism between the two Darwinian Centennials, 1959–1982?¹ An unanticipated problem soon arose — none of the participants could agree on what Darwinism actually was. Each speaker was sure that Darwinism has an essence, a set of tenets that all and only Darwinians hold, but no two could agree about which tenets are actually essential. Is selectionism essential? Must nearly all traits and all adaptations arise through natural selection, or does the neutralist alternative also count as part...

    • 27 Darwinism Today (Commentary)
      (pp. 813-824)
      Jacques Roger

      If I borrow my title from Kellogg (1907), it is because it aptly defines, I think, the real meaning of our colloquium and perhaps the present state of affairs about evolutionary theory. After 1909 and 1959, this is the third Darwinian centenary year. On the situation in 1909 we have a valuable testimony, the book published by the Cambridge University Press “at the suggestion of the Cambridge Philosophical Society” with the titleDarwin and Modern Science. In all the essays that composed the book, Darwin’s genius and outstanding role in biology, natural history, and allied sciences were unanimously praised, but...

    • 28 Adaptation and Mechanisms of Evolution After Darwin: A Study in Persistent Controversies
      (pp. 825-866)
      William B. Provine

      Do the primary mechanisms of evolution in nature lead to adaptation? This has remained a persistently controversial question from the appearance of Charles Darwin’sOriginin 1859 until the present. The main reason for this persistent controversy is that evolutionists have disagreed about whether or not the observed differences between closely related taxa (especially at the species level) are adaptive, and disagreed about the prevailing mechanisms of microevolution (evolution up to the level of geographical races or subspecies), speciation, and macroevolution (evolution above the species level). Although the question of adaptation in relation to mechanisms of evolution became more narrowly...

    • 29 Darwin on Natural Selection: A Philosophical Perspective
      (pp. 867-900)
      Elliott Sober

      Whig history is full of threats and promises. Interpreting the past in terms of the present has its dangers; since the present did not cause the past, one can be misled in the search for explanation. But when the question we put to the past concerns its meaning, matters change; seeing the significance of the past may well essentially involve seeing it in terms of the present.

      To discern Darwin’s achievement — identifying both what he saw and what he failed to see — is in part to locate his ideas in conceptual space. We now understand evolution and natural...

    • 30 Images of Darwin: A Historiographic Overview
      (pp. 901-972)
      Antonello La Vergata

      The members of any community sooner or later begin to reflect on their past with an eye to their future. Darwin scholars are no exception. They have increasingly found themselves discussing methodological problems and more general “philosophical” questions, such as their relationship to other areas of the history of science and to studies on the nature of science.

      What, it is now time to ask, have been the issues most commonly dealt with in Darwin historiography? What have been the dominant interpretative approaches to Darwin problems? Which ones have proved most fruitful? Which deserve greater attention in the future? These...

    • 31 The Beagle Collector and His Collections
      (pp. 973-1020)
      Duncan M. Porter

      Collections to be made by the naturalist who was to accompany Captain Robert FitzRoy (1805–1865) as a companion on the second surveying voyage of H.M.S.Beagleto South America were discussed even before Charles Darwin was recruited. In a note added to his original letter to the Reverend John Stevens Henslow (1796–1861, Professor of Botany in the University of Cambridge), the Reverend George Peacock (1791–1858, Tutor in Mathematics in Trinity College) stated, “What a glorious opportunity this would be for forming collections for our museums” (Darwin 1967, p. 29).¹

      Peacock was approached by his friend Captain Francis...

  9. Bibliography
    (pp. 1021-1100)
  10. Index
    (pp. 1101-1138)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 1139-1139)