Charles Darwin, the Copley Medal, and the Rise of Naturalism 1862-1864

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Charles Darwin, the Copley Medal, and the Rise of Naturalism, 1862—1864, thrusts students into the intellectual ferment of Victorian England just after publication of The Origin of Species.

Part of the “Reacting to the Past” series, this text consists of a game in which students experience firsthand the tension between natural and teleological views of the world--manifested especially in reconsideration of the design argument commonly known through William Paley’s Natural Theology or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity (1802).

Note: Reacting to the Past has been developed under the auspices of Barnard College. It won the Theodore Hesburgh Award (2004), funded by the TIAA-CREF, for pedagogical innovation, and it has also received substantial support from the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE) of the U.S. Department of Education. With this support, Barnard College hosts a series of conferences throughout the nation at which interested faculty and administrators learn about “Reacting” by playing miniversions of the games.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205723171
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 5/6/2009
  • Series: Reacting to the Past Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Marsha Driscoll is Associate Professor of Psychology at Bemidji State University in Bemidji, MN. Her scholarly interests include the nature and role of cognitive and affective empathy, adult development, and the interdisciplinary connections of psychology to the other social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences.

Elizabeth E. Dunn is Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of History at Bemidji State University. Her primary field of study is American Intellectual History, with research and publications centered on value conflicts in a variety of settings including Benjamin Franklin’s religious beliefs, paper money in colonial America, and political campaigning in the nineteenth century.

Dann P. Siems is Adjunct Professor of Integrative Studies at Bemidji State University. His scholarly interests include the role of cognition and behavior in life history evolution, the interplay of science and religion, and the history and philosophy of biology.

B. Kamran Swanson is an Instructor of Philosophy at Oakton Community College and Harold Washington College in the Chicago area. His studies have focused on the philosophy of Benedict Spinoza and early modern philosophies of science.

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Table of Contents


Introduction: Welcome to Victorian England

  • The Natural Theologians
  • The Naturalists
  • The Social Reformers

Basic Principles

The Play of the Game

  • Game Setting
  • Royal Society Meetings
  • The Role in the Royal Society
  • The Copley Medal
  • Special Roles in the Council of the Royal Society

Special Rules

  • Retention of Seat on the Council
  • Disqualification for reading aloud
  • Role of Gamemaster, Contact with Instructor
  • Student-Initiated Rule Modifications
  • A Word on The Use of Props

The Main Factions

  • A-Men (opponents of Darwin)
  • X-Men (supporters of Darwin)

Brief Sketches of Game Characters

  • Historical and Composite Factional Characters
  • Indeterminate Roles

Proceedings of the Royal Society

  • Podium Rule
  • Copley Nominations
  • Prelude to the Game
  • Detailed Agenda (Session by session)
  • Summary table of agenda and assignments:
  • Protocol and Parliamentary Procedure

Specific Written and Oral Assignments

Playing a Natural Philosopher or Man of Science in Victorian England

  • Introduction to the Philosophical Controversy
  • The Historical Context: Things You Should Know


Appendix A. Darwin, On the Origin of Species (1859)

Appendix B. Primary Source Documents

  • Samuel Wilberforce, Review of On the Origin of Species
  • John Lubbock, “Tact”
  • Francis Bacon’s Novum Organum, 1620 (excerpts)
  • William Paley, Natural Theology; or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Diety
  • Charles Kingsley, “A Nation’s Grief for a Nation’s Loss”
  • Sample Prayers from The Book of Common Prayer
  • Song Lyrics: “God Save the Queen”
  • Song Lyrics: “All Things Bright and Beautiful”

Appendix C. Additional Sources

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