The Cambridge Companion to the 'Origin of Species'

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The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin is universally recognized as one of the most important science books ever written. Published in 1859, it was where Darwin argued for both the fact of evolution and the mechanism of natural selection. The Origin of Species is also a work of great cultural and religious significance, in that Darwin maintained that all organisms, including humans, are part of a natural process of growth from simple forms. This Companion commemorates the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Origin of Species and examines its main arguments. Drawing on the expertise of leading authorities in the field, it also provides the contexts-religious, social, political, literary, and philosophical-in which the Origin was composed. Written in a clear and friendly yet authoritative manner, this volume will be essential reading for both scholars and students. More broadly, it will appeal to general readers who want to learn more about one of the most important and controversial books of modern times.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Will appeal to naturalists, social scientists, and people in the humanities."
J.S. Schwartz, Choice

"Unquestionably, the thoroughness of [The Cambridge Companion to Darwin, 2nd Edition and The Cambridge Companion to the 'Origin of Species'] will be caviar for professional scholars. But they will also appeal to a wider readership for offering clear and up-to-date expositions of the historical developments and theoretical principles of Darwin’s evolutionary thinking. ... these volumes are undeniably a great introduction to Darwin, his ideas and his legacies. With the wealth of historical and philosophical analyses, and the great variety of contributions covering major problems within the field, they constitute an indispensable tool for any teacher or student of Darwin and Darwinism. The general public will find a complete presentation of Darwin’s thinking, while the scholarly can enjoy a number of revisionist claims sure to provoke responses, critical and otherwise." -
THIERRY HOQUET, British Journal of the History of Science

"Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species occupies a remarkable place in the history of science. No other scientific work of comparable standing was written for a general readership. No other has had quite the widespread impact, been so frequently translated, or is so easily available today in bookshops...." -
W.F. Bynum, Victorian Studies

"Most satisfyingly, as each writer engages with a particular section of the Origin or a particular problem, the reader is made aware of alternative possible interpretations and of the reasons that Darwin’s theory must be understood as profoundly bound up in an extraordinary number of particular details that in public debate"
-George Levine,Rutgers University about evolution and Natural Selection are rarely alluded to."

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Michael Ruse is the Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Program in History and Philosophy of Science at Florida State University. The author or editor of more than 30 books, including Can a Darwinian be a Christian? and Darwinism and its Discontents, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the recipient of several honorary degrees.

Robert J. Richards is Morris Fishbein Professor of the History of Science and director of the Fishbein Center for the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Chicago. He has held major fellowships for work in history and philosophy of biology and is the author is many books, including Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior and The Tragic Sense of Life: Ernst Haeckel and the Struggle over Evolutionary Thought.

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Table of Contents

Note on Citations

Foreword Edward O. Wilson Wilson, Edward O.

1 The Origin of the Origin Michael Ruse Ruse, Michael 1

2 Darwin's Analogy between Artificial and Natural Selection in the Origin of Species Mark A. Largent Largent, Mark A. 14

3 Variation and Inheritance Robert Olby Olby, Robert 30

4 Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection and Its Moral Purpose Robert J. Richards Richards, Robert J. 47

5 Originating Species: Darwin on the Species Problem Phillip R. Sloan Sloan, Phillip R. 67

6 Darwin's Keystone: The Principle of Divergence David Kohn Kohn, David 87

7 Darwin's Difficulties A. J. Lustig Lustig, A. J. 109

8 Darwin's Geology and Perspective on the Fossil Record Sandra Herbert Herbert, Sandra David Norman Norman, David 129

9 Geographical Distribution in the Origin of Species Peter J. Bowler Bowler, Peter J. 153

10 Classification in Darwin's Origin Richard A. Richards Richards, Richard A. 173

11 Embryology and Morphology Lynn K. Nyhart Nyhart, Lynn K. 194

12 Darwin's Botany in the Origin of Species Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis Smocovitis, Vassiliki Betty 216

13 The Rhetoric of the Origin of Species David J. Depew Depew, David J. 237

14 "Laws impressed on matter by the Creator"? The Origin and the Question of Religion John Hedley Brooke Brooke, John Hedley 256

15 Lineal Descendants: The Origin's Literary Progeny Gillian Beer Beer, Gillian 275

16 The Origin and Political Thought: From Liberalism to Marxism Naomi Beck Beck, Naomi 295

17 The Origin and Philosophy Tim Lewens Lewens, Tim 314

18 The Origin of Species as a Book Michele Kohler Kohler, Michele Chris Kohler Kohler, Chris 333

Bibliography 353

Index 373

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  • Posted July 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

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    Not an easy read not a hard read.

    This is a good book if you've never read Darwins Origin or if you have read it or are reading it again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2010

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