Darwin without Malthus: The Struggle for Existence in by Daniel P. Todes PDF

By Daniel P. Todes

ISBN-10: 0195058305

ISBN-13: 9780195058307

19th century Russian intellectuals perceived a Malthusian bias in Darwin's thought of evolution through typical choice. They pointed out that bias with Darwin's inspiration of the fight for life and his emphasis upon the evolutionary function of overpopulation and intraspecific clash. during this e-book, Todes files a old Russian critique of Darwin's Malthusian errors, explores its courting to such clinical paintings as Mechnikov's phagocytic conception, Korzhinskii's mutation conception and Kropotkin's thought of mutual relief, and unearths its origins in Russia's political financial system and within the very nature of its land and weather. this can be the 1st e-book in English to envision intimately the clinical paintings of 19th century Russian evolutionists, and the 1st in any language to discover the connection of Russian theories to the industrial, political, and common situations during which they have been generated. It combines a huge scope (dealing with political figures and cultural hobbies) with an in depth research of clinical paintings on a number of themes.

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Extra info for Darwin without Malthus: The Struggle for Existence in Russian Evolutionary Thought (Monographs on the History and Philosophy of Biology)

Sample text

14 Malthus enjoyed great fame in England, Arsen'ev explained, and had been the first to argue that "population size is necessarily in harmony with the quantity of food supplies, or that there cannot be more inhabitants in a nation than there are supplies to feed them. "15 But this contention ignored the fact that additional people produce the additional "means of existence" that they require. He added: Malthus's proposition, one-sided and very limiting for other powers, would be beneficial for Russia, since, judging by its natural riches and the breadth of its cultivatable l a n d s .

He added, however, that after initial silence or mild approval, conservative "ignoramuses and self-styled patriots" launched an attack upon the selection theory in the late 1870s. 73 This generally favorable reception has long been acknowledged by historians, as have several reasons for it: Russia lacked an entrenched creationist tradition and had already produced a number of evolutionists (most notably zoologists K. F. Rul'e and K. E. von Baer, but also A. N. Beketov, A. P. Bogdanov, K. F. Kessler, N.

Furthermore, evolutionism resonated with the materialist and positivist inclinations of the urban intelligentsia of the 1860s, particularly of the progressives who flooded the biological sciences. 74 Darwin's Russian audience was, then, well prepared for his evolutionism. It was, by the same token, well prepared to evaluate critically the novel features of Darwin's selection theory, particularly his appeal, through the metaphor "struggle for existence, " to a body of common knowledge that proved not so common at all.

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Darwin without Malthus: The Struggle for Existence in Russian Evolutionary Thought (Monographs on the History and Philosophy of Biology) by Daniel P. Todes


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