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Darwin in Scotland: Edinburgh, Evolution and Enlightenment

By: JF Derry

186 pages, B/w illus

Whittles Publishing

Paperback | Mar 2010 | #179557 | ISBN-13: 9781904445579
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £18.99 $25/€22 approx

About this book

This is the first book on Darwin and Darwinism that wholly concentrates on his time spent in Scotland and the key contributions to his future insights made by the Scottish Enlightenment and the University of Edinburgh.

Darwin developed his theories because he attended Edinburgh University - although he participated little in formal tuition, it was through interaction with his tutors, peers and extracurricular groups that he was exposed to an ethos of naturalistic philosophy rooted in the Scottish Enlightenment and, by direct descent, the Ancient Greeks. If he had bypassed Scotland and gone straight to Cambridge, his education would have been theologically-based and unlikely to have given him the perspective that led him to question the prevailing doctrine.

This is also the first book to explore the subsequent impact of his work on modern day biologists at the University of Edinburgh. How far have we moved on since Darwin made his discoveries? Are his theories still relevant to modern-day science? Can we say if they will be relevant in the future? And, what should we be teaching future generations? The relevance of Darwin in debate is as important and volatile now as when "The Origin of Species" was first published a century and a half ago.

...a detailed and specialised account...' Arts, The Herald '...Derry is able to point to the crucial influence that Enlightenment Edinburgh was to have on Darwin's developing mind.' Scottish Field 'An encompassing look at the time spent here by the father of evolution, it features interviews with God Delusion author Richard Dawkins, linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky, Astronomer Royal Martin Rees and Darwin's great-great-grandson RandalKeynes among others.' The Courier


Preface; Scientific Naturalism; Darwin's Scottish Enlightenment; Mendelian ratios; Modern evolutionary synthesis; Scottish geology; Beagle voyage; Time of death; Punctuated equilibrium; Phylogenetics;Darwin's insight and vision; Evolutionary cosmology; The Dissent of Man; Psycholinguistics; School of Life; Appendix: Clarification of terms; Bibliography; Contributor biographies; A note on sourcing Darwin's works; Indexes.

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J.F. Derry is the Visiting Scientist, Institute of Evolutionary Biology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, UK

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