Click to have a closer look
About this book
About this book
Charles Darwin (1809-1882) is best known as a biologist and natural historian rather than a philosopher. However, in this invaluable book, Tim Lewens shows in a clear and accessible manner how important Darwin is for philosophy and how his work has shaped and challenged the very nature of the subject.
Beginning with an overview of Darwin's life and work, the subsequent chapters discuss the full range of fundamental philosophical topics from a Darwinian perspective. These include natural selection; the origin and nature of species; the role of evidence in scientific enquiry; the theory of Intelligent Design; evolutionary approaches to the human mind; the implications of Darwin's work for ethics and epistemology; and the question of how social and political thought needs to be updated in the light of a Darwinian understanding of human nature. A concluding chapter assesses the philosophical legacy of Darwin's thought.
Darwin is essential reading for anyone in the humanities, social sciences and sciences seeking a philosophical introduction to Darwin, or anyone simply seeking a philosophical companion to Darwin's own writings.
Acknowledgements Chronology A Note on Texts Introduction: 'A Philosophical Naturalist' 1. Dial 'M' for 'Metaphysics' 2. Darwin and Darwinism 3. Darwin unfolding Chapter One: Life 1. Pedigree 2. From Sport to Science 3. The Beagle Voyage 4. London, Marriage and the Notebooks 5. Down! 6. !And Out Chapter Two: Selection 1. Evolution and Natural Selection 2. The Argument for Natural Selection 3. Darwin and Lamarck 4. 'Darwin's Dangerous Idea' 5. Natural Selection and Variation 6. Selection and Creativity 7. Selection and Population 8. Natural Selection Then and Now Chapter Three: Species 1. Human Nature, Squid Nature, Apple Nature 2. The Tree of Life 3. Butchering Nature 4. Individuals and Kinds 5. Population Thinking and Typological Thinking 6. Species Natures Chapter Four: Evidence 1. Science and God 2. Inference to the Best Explanation 3. Herschel and Whewell 4. Herschel and the Origin 5. Darwin, Whewell and Gemmules 6. Natural Selection and Common Ancestry 7. The Natural Selection/Intelligent Design Debate 8. Evolution with Intelligent Design 9. Darwin and Religion Chapter Five: Mind 1. Squandered Riches? 2. The Three Principles of Emotional Expression 3. Common Ancestry 4. The Universality of Emotional Expression 5. Culture and the Evolutionary Approach 6. The Santa Barbara School 7. A Single Human Nature? 8. The Adaptive Heuristic 9. Darwin and Santa Barbara Chapter Six: Ethics 1. Ethics from the Side of Natural History 2. The Origins of the Moral Sense 3. Darwin's Normative Ethics 4. Evolutionary Normative Ethics 5. Evolutionary Meta-Ethics 6. Group Selection 7. Has Evolution made us Selfish? Chapter Seven: Knowledge 1. What is Knowledge? 2. Empiricism 3. Innate Knowledge 4. Evolutionary Epistemology: James and Popper 5. Memes 6. Cultural Evolution without Memes Chapter Eight: Politics 1. Darwin and the Right 2. Degenerating Society 3. Social Darwinism 4. Politics and Human Nature 5. Darwin and the Equality of the Sexes 6. Sex Differences Today 7. Darwin and the Left Chapter Nine: Philosophy 1. Man's Place in Nature 2. Hubris 3. Contingency 4. Progress 5. Darwinian Naturalism Glossary References
University of Cambridge, UK
'a clear, well-written, fair, broad-ranging and student-friendly introduction to Darwinian thinking' - Kim Sterelny, Victoria University of Wellington and Australian National University 'Charles Darwin has been enlisted to support many different, and often contradictory, intellectual and political agendas. This is a clear and careful philosophical examination of which of these causes Darwin is willing and able to support. An excellent introduction to Darwin's intellectual orientation and the implications of his thought.' Paul Griffiths, University of Queensland, Australia 'This book is a true gem. Although modestly billed as a "philosophical introduction" to Darwin's thought, it's actually far more. With engaging style, Lewens deftly interweaves intellectual history and state-of-the-art evolutionary theory to illuminate current debates over "intelligent design," evolutionary psychology, evolutionary epistemology, ethics, sex differences, and the nature of science itself. Lively, timely, insightful, and informative, it's a terrific read.' David Buller, Northern Illinois University, USA 'Charles Darwin remains as influential as ever. He is a hate figure of the religious right which only adds to his lustre in the eyes of everybody else. Tim Lewens brilliantly explores the extraordinary role that Darwin has played not only in science and philosophy but also right across the full range of human affairs. Lewens' book contradicts the belief that nothing more that is fresh and interesting could be added to all the existing writings about Darwin.' Sir Patrick Bateson, University of Cambridge, UK