History and Philosophy Of Science | The Descent of Darwinism – The Evolution of Natural Selection
X100 | 10640 | Nick Best


Nick Best
X100
The Descent of Darwinism – The Evolution of Natural Selection

Was Charles Darwin a scientific revolutionary whose evolutionary
theory shocked the establishment? Or did he have intellectual
predecessors whose work inspired him to devise the theory of natural
selection? The aim of this course will be to give a balanced picture
of Darwin's place in the history of biology. By coming at Darwin’s
place in history from different perspectives we will get a more
accurate portrayal of his real significance to science.
In this class we will examine several major figures in the history
of the life sciences, geological sciences, theology and the social
sciences. We will analyse their conceptions of nature (and
humanity's place in it) with particular emphasis on how these ideas
shaped their disciplines and how they affected Darwin and his
thought. We will also examine the life of Darwin and read some of
his writings. We will compare his innovative theory of natural
selection with the theories that dominated biology before his day
and discuss the consequences of Darwin's contribution.

Textbooks:
Peter J. Bowler, Evolution: The History of an Idea, Third Edition,
University of California Press, 0520236939.
James D. Watson, Darwin: The Indelible Stamp, Paperback, Running
Press Book Publishers, 0762430516.