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Was Hitler a Darwinian?: Disputed Questions in the History of Evolutionary Theory [Hardcover]

Robert Richards

Price: 57.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

10 Jan 2014
In tracing the history of Darwin's accomplishment and the trajectory of evolutionary theory during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, most scholars agree that Darwin introduced blind mechanism into biology, thus banishing moral values from the understanding of nature. According to the standard interpretation, the principle of survival of the fittest has rendered human behavior, including moral behavior, ultimately selfish. Few doubt that Darwinian theory, especially as construed by the master's German disciple, Ernst Haeckel, inspired Hitler and led to Nazi atrocities. In this collection of essays, Robert J. Richards argues that this orthodox view is wrongheaded. A close historical examination reveals that Darwin, in more traditional fashion, constructed nature with a moral spine and provided it with a goal: man as a moral creature. The book takes up many topics - including the character of Darwin's chief principles of natural selection and divergence, his dispute with Alfred Russel Wallace over man's big brain, the role of language in human development, his relationship to Herbert Spencer, how much his views had in common with Haeckel's, and the general problem of progress in evolution. Moreover, Richards takes a forceful stand on the timely issue of whether Darwin is to blame for Hitler's atrocities. Was Hitler a Darwinian? is intellectual history at its boldest.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (10 Jan 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 022605876X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226058764
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.7 x 2 cm

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Product Description


"These essays display the impressive range of Robert J. Richards's abilities as an intellectual historian and historian of science, as they explore the disparate sources of Darwinian thought in romanticism, theology, ethics, aesthetics, and linguistics." (Sander Gliboff, Indiana University)"

About the Author

Robert J. Richards is the Morris Fishbein Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Science and Medicine; professor in the Departments of History, Philosophy, and Psychology and in the Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science; and director of the Fishbein Center for the History of Science and Medicine, all at the University of Chicago. He is the author of numerous books, including, most recently, The Tragic Sense of Life, also published by the University of Chicago Press. He lives in Chicago.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great historian of evolution dispels stereotypes 11 Jun 2014
By David Sloan Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Highly recommended for readers with a serious interest in the history of evolutionary thought. The title essay is especially important for dispelling the myth that Darwin's theory had anything to do with German atrocities during WWII.
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