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The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Charles Darwin , Joe Cain
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 14.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

28 May 2009 Penguin Classics
Published in 1872, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals was a book at the very heart of Darwin's research interests - a central pillar of his 'human' series. This book engaged some of the hardest questions in the evolution debate, and it showed the ever-cautious Darwin at his boldest. If Darwin had one goal with Expression, it was to demonstrate the power of his theories for explaining the origin of our most cherished human qualities: morality and intellect. As Darwin explained, "He who admits, on general grounds, that the structure and habits of all animals have been gradually evolved, will look at the whole subject of Expression in a new and interesting light."

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The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (Penguin Classics) + The Descent of Man: Selection in Relation to Sex (Penguin Classics) + On the Origin of Species (Oxford World's Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Original edition (28 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780141439440
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141439440
  • ASIN: 0141439440
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 12.8 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 360,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury in 1809 and was educated at Shrewsbury School, Edinburgh University and Christ's College Cambridge. He took his degree in 1831 and in the same year embarked on a five-year voyage on HMS Beagle as a companion to the captain; the purpose of the voyage was to chart the coasts of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, and to carry a chain of chronometric readings round the world.

While he was away some of his letters on scientific matters were privately published, and on his return he at once took his place among the leading men of science. In 1839 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. Most of the rest of his life was occupied in publishing the findings of the voyage and in documenting his theory of the transmutation of species. On the origin of species by means of natural selection appeared in 1859.

Darwin spent many years with his wife - his cousin Emma Wedgwood, whom he had married in 1839 - and their children at Down House in Kent. He died in 1882, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Product Description

Review

" He who admits, on general grounds, that the structure and habits of all animals have been gradually evolved will look at the whole subject of Expression in a new and interesting light." -Charles Darwin

About the Author

Charles Darwin was born in 1809 to an upper-middle-class medical family. He was destined for a career in either medicine or the Anglican Church but never completed his medical studies: his future changed entirely in 1831 when he joined HMS Beagle as a naturalist. On returning to England in 1836 he began to write up his theories and observations which culminated in a series of books, most famously On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection in 1859. He died in 1882 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Joe Cain is Senior Lecturer in History and Philosophy of Biology at University College London (UCL). His expertise is in the history of evolutionary studies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Darwin and historical memory.



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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Darwin on Facial Expressions 26 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
When Charles Darwin in 1859 finally made public his theory of evolution by natural selection in "On the Origin of Species", he avoided writing about human evolution, except for saying that "Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history."

But by the early 1870s he felt confident enough to openly discuss the evolution of humans from animals. He did this in "The Descent of Man" (1871) and in this book, "The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals" (1872).

In "The Expression of Emotions" Darwin's main aim was to show that humans are not separate from animals. He shows the origins of human facial expressions in the animal world, and he argues that human expressions are innate and universal (the same in all cultures).

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Darwin's ideas. But in my view it is not Darwin at his best. It has been pointed out that there are two main weaknesses in the book. Firstly, Darwin focuses mainly on the emotional roots of facial expressions and says too little about the role of expressions in communication.

Secondly, despite having developed the revolutionary (and correct) theory of natural selection as the mechanism for evolutionary change, Darwin mistakenly allowed a subsidiary role for the Lamarckian idea of the inheritance of acquired characteristics. This book is unfortunately full of examples of this latter idea.

In recent decades the book has also featured in controversies over the so-called "nature versus nurture" debate. Social anthropologist Margaret Mead argued that human facial expressions are learned, not innate, and that they vary from one culture to another.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DARWIN'S FOLLOW-UP TO "THE DESCENT OF MAN" 9 Dec 2009
By Steven H. Propp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book was written by Charles Darwin and published in 1872, and deals with how both humans and animals express emotions. It contains material that he gathered while writing his book on human evolution, The Descent of Man.

He states early on in the book, "No doubt as long as man and all other animals are viewed as independent creations, an effectual stop is put to our natural desire to investigate as far as possible the causes of Expression ... He who admits on general grounds that the structure and habits of all animals have been gradually evolved, will look at the subject of Expression in a new and interesting light."

He articulates three general principles which "throw light on the theory of the subject," namely, "The principle of serviceable associated Habits," "The principle of Antithesis," and "The principle of actions due to the constitution of the Nervous System."

Many of Darwin's observations are interesting, such as: "(T)he essence of savagery seems to consist in the retention of a primordial condition, and this occasionally holds good even with bodily pecularities." And "The expression here considered, whether that of a playful sneer or ferocious snarl, is one of the most curious which occurs in man. It reveals his animal descent..." And "Blushing is the most peculiar and the most human of all expressions."

This book will interest students of Darwin, and of the development of evolutionary theory.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Darwin the master observer 19 Dec 2012
By Primo Rodriguez Perez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a book to read slowly,Darwin invested his whole life to observation of our world and the creatures that inhabit it including us. Expresion of emotions is a excellent way to see those things that are second nature to us in a different ligth. Read it and the next time you see a child laugh or cry it will be in another perspective. I am a lawyer and this book has iluminated thoughts on why we take demeanor so seriously. It also has the finest description,and foundation for a defense against any type of torture. You cant go wrong with Penguin Classics.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A basic component of the Darwinian trylogy! 20 May 2011
By Hiram Gomez Pardo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Published in 1872, this book conforms together with "On the origin of species" (1858) and "The descent of man" (1871) a primordial text of huge value. Its scientific importance resides in showing the genetical aspects determined with behaviour.

Darwin makes an impressive journey around the body language, instincts, facial expressions and how they interelate themselves into the semiotic lexicon. In this sense, C.D preceeds by far the complex universe of behavioural psychology, paving the way for the whole development of this fascinating scientific discipline.

Darwin points to a shared human and animal ancestry in sharp contrast to the arguments deployed in Charles Bell's Anatomy and Philosophy of Expression (1824) which claimed that there were divinely created human muscles to express uniquely human feelings. Bell's famous aphorism on the subject was: "expression is to the passions as language is to thought".

You shouldn't miss this erudite, captivating and revealing book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Encyclopedia on Expressions! 29 Aug 2013
By M. Zavala - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Darwin's meticulous documentation of variation and context is on display in this rich text on expressions of emotions in humans and animals. Darwin is a close observer of his world, and a generous author. It is difficult to take this book in at once, but it was Darwin's intention for readers to refer to it often rather than reading it cover to cover at once. And this seems obvious from the incredible amount of details that goes into each observation and described emotion, from the hunch of a dog's back, to the placement of her ears, and the same for babies' faces, and others. It is a great addition to any library, but especially to one dedicated to understanding the natural world and humans' relationship to other organisms.
4.0 out of 5 stars Darwin on Facial Expressions 26 Jan 2014
By P. Webster - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
When Charles Darwin in 1859 finally made public his theory of evolution by natural selection in “On the Origin of Species”, he avoided writing about human evolution, except for saying that “Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.”

But by the early 1870s he felt confident enough to openly discuss the evolution of humans from animals. He did this in “The Descent of Man” (1871) and in this book, “The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals” (1872).

In “The Expression of Emotions” Darwin’s main aim was to show that humans are not separate from animals. He shows the origins of human facial expressions in the animal world, and he argues that human expressions are innate and universal (the same in all cultures).

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Darwin’s ideas. But in my view it is not Darwin at his best. It has been pointed out that there are two main weaknesses in the book. Firstly, Darwin focuses mainly on the emotional roots of facial expressions and says too little about the role of expressions in communication.

Secondly, despite having developed the revolutionary (and correct) theory of natural selection as the mechanism for evolutionary change, Darwin mistakenly allowed a subsidiary role for the Lamarckian idea of the inheritance of acquired characteristics. This book is unfortunately full of examples of this latter idea.

In recent decades the book has also featured in controversies over the so-called “nature versus nurture” debate. Social anthropologist Margaret Mead argued that human facial expressions are learned, not innate, and that they vary from one culture to another. Psychologist Paul Eckman, on the other hand, says that Mead has been proved wrong and that Darwin was correct in saying that human facial expressions are the same in all societies, reflecting their evolutionary and genetic rather than cultural origins.

But even if Ekman is correct on the specific issue of facial expressions, this does not mean that we can explain all other aspects of human behaviour primarily in genetic terms, as biological/genetic determinists claim. Ekman says that both nature and nurture play a part in determining human behaviour, which is clearly true, but he himself actually seems to lean much more towards the “nature” side. In fact he has claimed that “Darwin led the way not only in the biological sciences but in the social sciences as well.” Ekman seems to be using Darwin’s “Expressions” book as a stick with which to beat those who put forward social explanations of human behaviour.

In fact it is not just social scientists who argue that we cannot explain all human behaviour in biological terms. Evolutionary theorists like Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin also show that humans have evolved to be creatures which, because of their large brain, are very flexible in their behaviour. The result is that much of our behaviour (though perhaps not our facial expressions) is learned and therefore the result of social factors and interactions.

I am a great fan of Charles Darwin, and Darwin may well have been right about facial expressions being largely innate, but we should not try to use Darwinism to explain our society (and its problems).

Phil Webster.
(England)
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