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The Edge of Evolution: Animality, Inhumanity, & Doctor Moreau

  • Takes a classic science fiction novel as a launching pad for questions of ethics, human exceptionalism, and animal rights
  • Tackles current controversial issues such as Darwinism, animal rights/welfare, human evolution, and religion and science
  • Author has experience in a range of settings and specialties: laboratory, museum, working farm, animal behavioral and anatomical topics
  • Offers a new reading of the often-distorted "The Island of Doctor Moreau"

By: Ronald Edwards(Author)

296 pages, 38 illustrations

Oxford University Press

Hardback | Apr 2016 | #231027 | ISBN-13: 9780190212094
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £19.99 $26/€22 approx

About this book

The Edge of Evolution presents a re-reading of H. G. Wells' novel The Island of Doctor Moreau as a key to addressing the controversies of our own humanity. Ron Edwards is a broadly-experienced researcher and teacher specializing in evolutionary theory, as well as a long-time participant in animal care oversight at a leading research institution.

His careful examination in The Edge of Evolution looks strictly at the novel's actual story to rehabilitate it from the widespread distorted version, and argues that the real story provides an outstanding means to confront human exceptionalism, a prevailing stopping-point for science and ethics. It integrates literature, history, and science; it bluntly criticizes, discloses, and advocates; and it combines accuracy with clarity, directed toward a lay audience.

Finally, The Edge of Evolution also raises a genuinely new and relevant issue: with human exceptionalism abolished, where do ethics come from?


Chapter 1: The Paw
Taking exception / Science and fiction / Science fiction
Chapter 2: The Ism that Wasn't
It does not please you / Darwin in the middle / Two windows
Chapter 3: Don't Meddle
Movies and Moreau / Sorcery / Life science

Chapter 4: The House of Pain
No pain, no gain / Moreau 1, Prendick 0 / Pain is real
Chapter 5: Into the Lab and Onto the Slab
In the book / How / But why

Chapter 6: All the Difference
Moreau's Man / Prendick's gaze / "No!" / The virago
Chapter 7: To the Beasts You May Go
No threshold / Selection and its discontents / The Valley

Chapter 8: That is the Law
Whose Law? / Hell is real / The Jesus moment / The rebel
Chapter 9: Beast Monsters
The taste of blood / The stubborn beast flesh / The horror
Chapter 10: Big Thinks
Suffering and philosophy / Science and humanity

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Ronald Edwards is an author and most recently served as an Assistant Professor, DePaul University

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