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The Meaning of Evolution
Author: Robert J. Richards

ISBN: 9780226712031
Format: Paperback
Number Of Pages: 222
Published: 17 December 1991
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.5 x 13.3 x 1.5
Description:
Did Darwin see evolution as progressive, directed toward producing ever more advanced forms of life? Most contemporary scholars say no. In this challenge to prevailing views, Robert J. Richards says yes--and argues that current perspectives on Darwin and his theory are both ideologically motivated and scientifically unsound.
This provocative new reading of Darwin goes directly to the origins of evolutionary theory. Unlike most contemporary biologists or historians and philosophers of science, Richards holds that Darwin did concern himself with the idea of progress, or telos, as he constructed his theory. Richards maintains that Darwin drew on the traditional embryological meanings of the terms "evolution" and "descent with modification." In the 1600s and 1700s, "evolution" referred to the embryological theory of preformation, the idea that the embryo exists as a miniature adult of its own species that simply grows, or evolves, during gestation. By the early 1800s, however, the idea of preformation had become the concept of evolutionary recapitulation, the idea that during its development an embryo passes through a series of...

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