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  • Cited by 9
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    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Helgeson, Casey 2017. Pattern as observation: Darwin’s ‘great facts’ of geographical distribution. European Journal for Philosophy of Science, Vol. 7, Issue. 2, p. 337.

    Sober, Elliott 2015. Replies to commentators on Did Darwin Write the Origin Backwards?. Philosophical Studies, Vol. 172, Issue. 3, p. 829.

    D'Ambrosio, Paolo 2015. A HEURISTIC SCIENCE-BASED NATURALISM AS A PARTNER FOR THEOLOGICAL REFLECTIONS ON THE NATURAL WORLD. Zygon®, Vol. 50, Issue. 4, p. 962.

    Ji, Xu-dong and Lu, Wei 2013. The evolution of bookkeeping methods in China: A Darwinist analysis of developments during the twentieth-century. Accounting History, Vol. 18, Issue. 3, p. 317.

    Reydon, Thomas A. C. 2013. Classifying Life, Reconstructing History and Teaching Diversity: Philosophical Issues in the Teaching of Biological Systematics and Biodiversity. Science & Education, Vol. 22, Issue. 2, p. 189.

    Scholl, Raphael 2012. Elliott Sober: Did Darwin Write the Origin Backwards? Philosophical Essays on Darwin’s Theory. Acta Biotheoretica, Vol. 60, Issue. 3, p. 323.

    Theunissen, Bert 2012. Darwin and His Pigeons. The Analogy Between Artificial and Natural Selection Revisited. Journal of the History of Biology, Vol. 45, Issue. 2, p. 179.

    Kampourakis, Kostas and Zogza, Vasso 2009. Preliminary Evolutionary Explanations: A Basic Framework for Conceptual Change and Explanatory Coherence in Evolution. Science & Education, Vol. 18, Issue. 10, p. 1313.

    Kampourakis, Kostas and Zogza, Vasso 2008. Students’ intuitive explanations of the causes of homologies and adaptations. Science & Education, Vol. 17, Issue. 1, p. 27.

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  • Print publication year: 2003
  • Online publication date: May 2006

5 - The arguments in the Origin of Species

from PART I - DARWIN’S THEORISING
Summary

ORIGINS AND CHARACTER OF THE ORIGIN

Reading On the Origin of Species is a rite of passage for many biologists and its reasoning continues to play a pivotal role in biological thought. It is often said, following Darwin himself, that the Origin is 'one long argument' (459). There is something important in this remark. Readers expecting the Origin to be structured around a narrative account find the book perplexing. Unlike the paradigmatic early Victorian book on evolution, the Edinburgh journalist Robert Chambers' Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, published anonymously in 1844, the Origin was not written as a history of life's evolution on earth. Rather, the Origin was structured as an argument. Hence, Darwin's insistence that his book was one long argument provides an indispensable clue for reading the text. But it is not clear that it should be read as one argument. Although Darwin may have designed his book to be read as one long argument for evolution by means of natural selection, many of his readers must have read it differently. We know this because the Origin persuaded many readers to accept the 'evolution' idea but not the 'by means of natural selection' part of Darwin's view. These readers were not swayed by one long argument for evolution by means of natural selection. So, to understand the reasoning that influenced Darwin's readers, it is better to think of the Origin as a body of argumentation flexible enough to allow readers' views of the reasoning to differ from what Darwin might have intended. The aim of this chapter is to provide a guide to the Origin's flexible and sometimes elusive body of reasoning.

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The Cambridge Companion to Darwin
  • Online ISBN: 9780511998690
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL0521771978
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