This book offers a thorough reanalysis of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, which for many people represents the work that alone gave rise to evolutionism. Of course, scholars today know better than that. Yet, few resist the temptation of turning to the Origin in order to support it or reject it in light of their own work. Apparently, Darwin fills the mythical role of a founding figure that must either be invoked or repudiated. Charles Darwin's Incomplete Revolution is an invitation to move beyond what is currently expected of Darwin's magnum opus. Once the rhetorical varnish of Darwin's discourses is removed, one discovers a work of remarkably indecisive conclusions.
The book comprises two main theses:
(1) The Origin of Species never remotely achieved the theoretical unity to which it is often credited. Rather, Darwin was overwhelmed by a host of phenomena that could not fit into his narrow conceptual framework.
(2) In the Origin of Species, Darwin failed at completing the full conversion to evolutionism. Carrying many ill-designed intellectual tools of the 17th and 18th centuries, Darwin merely promoted a special brand of evolutionism, one that prevented him from taking the decisive steps toward an open and modern evolutionism.
Introduction: Darwin in the Large Intellectual Context
Part I: Historical Shallowness
Chapter 1: Evolution in a Fully Constituted Word
Part II: To Travel in Geographical Space is to Travel in Geological Time
Chapter 2: Imposing Order Upon Complexity: Divergence Forward in Time (Origin, chap. 1-5, 8)
Chapter 3: The Wild Power of Natural Selection: Vertical Evolution, Analogies, and Imaginary Scenarios (Origin, chap. 6-7) p
Chapter 4: An Attempt at Taming Natural Selection With Convergence Backward in Time, Part I (Origin, chap. 11-12)
Chapter 5: An Attempt at Taming Natural Selection With Convergence Backward in Time, Part II (Origin, chap. 13)
Part III: Evolutionary Dynamics
Chapter 6: Cyclicity, Evolutionary Equilibrium, and Biological Progress
Part IV: A Question of Methods
Chapter 7: Methodologies for a World Already Revealed
Conclusion: A restored unity in the Origin of Species?
Richard G. Delisle has a PhD in palaeoanthropology (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa) and a PhD in philosophy (University of Montreal, Canada). He teaches evolutionary biology and history/philosophy of science in the programs of archaeology, philosophy, and liberal education at the University of Lethbridge (Canada). His research interest focuses on the multidisciplinary quest of understanding evolutionary studies under the intimate light of its past and current developments.