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Against “revolution” and “evolution”

Hodge, M.J.S. (2005) Against “revolution” and “evolution”. Journal of the History of Biology, 38 (1). pp. 101-121. ISSN 1573-0387

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Abstract

Those standard historiographic themes of “evolution” and “revolution” need replacing. They perpetuate mid-Victorian scientists’ history of science. Historians’ history of science does well to take in the long run from the Greek and Hebrew heritages on, and to work at avoiding misleading anachronism and teleology. As an alternative to the usual “evo-revo” themes, a historiography of origins and species, of cosmologies (including microcosmogonies and macrocosmogonies) and ontologies, is developed here. The advantages of such a historiography are illustrated by looking briefly at a number of transitions the transition from Greek and Hebrew doctrines to their integrations by medieval authors; the transition from the Platonist, Aristotelian, Christian Aquinas to the Newtonian Buffon and to the no less Newtonian Lamarck; the departures the early Darwin made away from Lamarck’s and from Lyell’s views. Issues concerning historical thinking about nature, concerning essentialism and concerning classification are addressed in an attempt to challenge customary stereotypes. Questions about originality and influence are raised, especially concerning Darwin’s “tree of life” scheme. The broader historiography of Darwinian science as a social ideology, and as a “worldview,” is examined and the scope for revisions emphasised. Throughout, graduate students are encouraged to see this topic area not as worked out, but as full of opportunities for fresh contributions.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2005 Springer. This is an author produced version of a paper subsequently published in Journal of the History of Biology. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts (Leeds) > School of Humanities (Leeds) > School of Philosophy (Leeds) > Division of the History and Philosophy of Science (Leeds)
Depositing User: Leeds Philosophy Department
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2007 21:23
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2013 17:04
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10739-004-6512-3
Status: Published
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Refereed: No
Related URLs:
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/3335

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