Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior

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With insight and wit, Robert J. Richards focuses on the development of evolutionary theories of mind and behavior from their first distinct appearance in the eighteenth century to their controversial state today. Particularly important in the nineteenth century were Charles Darwin's ideas about instinct, reason, and morality, which Richards considers against the background of Darwin's personality, training, scientific and cultural concerns, and intellectual community. Many critics have argued that the Darwinian revolution stripped nature of moral purpose and ethically neutered the human animal. Richards contends, however, that Darwin, Herbert Spencer, and their disciples attempted to reanimate moral life, believing that the evolutionary process gave heart to unselfish, altruistic behavior.

"Richards's book is now the obvious introduction to the history of ideas about mind and behavior in the nineteenth century."—Mark Ridley, Times Literary Supplement

"Not since the publication of Michael Ghiselin's The Triumph of the Darwinian Method has there been such an ambitious, challenging, and methodologically self-conscious interpretation of the rise and development and evolutionary theories and Darwin's role therein."—John C. Greene, Science

"His book . . . triumphantly achieves the goal of all great scholarship: it not only informs us, but shows us why becoming thus informed is essential to understanding our own issues and projects."—Daniel C. Dennett, Philosophy of Science

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Editorial Reviews

Paper reprint of the winner of the 1988 Pfizer Prize, History of Science Society. Originally published in 1987. Darwin's ideas about instinct, reason, and morality, considered against the background of his personality, training, scientific and cultural concerns, and intellectual community, shape this history. Includes 33 pages of references. Cloth edition, $29.95 (unseen). Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Robert J. Richards is professor of history, philosophy, and behavioral science at the University of Chicago. He is a member of the Committee on the Conceptual Foundations of Science and director of the Program in History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine.
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Table of Contents

1. Origins of Evolutionary Biology of Behavior
Controversies over Animal Instinct and Intelligence in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
Erasmus Darwin's Sensationalist Interpretation of Instinct and Evolution
Cabanis's Revision of Sensationalism
Lamarck: Behavior as Product and Instrument of Species Transformation
Reactions of the Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle
2. Behavior and Mind in Evolution: Charles Darwin's Early Theories of Instinct, Reason, and Morality
Preparations of an Evolutionary Thinker
Instinct and the Mechanisms of Species Change
The Roots of Rational Thought
The Evolution of Morality
3. Contributions of Natural Theology to Darwin's Theory of the Evolution of Mind and Behavior
Disputes of Natural Theologians over Instinct and Intelligence
Contributions to Darwin's Emerging Theory of Behavior
The Wonderful Instincts of Neuter Insects
Conclusion: Mind, Instinct, and Darwin's Delay
4. Debates of Evolutionists over Human Reason and Moral Sense, 1859-1871
Darwinian Disputes over Human Nature
Wallace and the Challenge of Spiritualism
5. Darwin and the Descent of Human Rational and Moral Faculties
Darwin's Descent of Man
Evolution of the Moral Sense and Intelligence
Response of the Critics
Expression of the Emotions
Conclusion: Utilitarian and Darwinian Moral Theories
6. Spencer's Conception of Evolution as a Moral Force
Early Life as a Nonconformist
Social and Moral Science as Foundation of Evolutionary Theory
The Development of Spencer's Theory of Evolution
Mental Evolution: Empiricized Kantianism
7. Evolutionary Ethics: Spencer and His Critics
Spencer's Ethical System
Critics of Evolutionary Ethics
8. Darwinism and the Demands of Metaphysics and Religion: Romanes, Mivart, and Morgan
Prayer and the Imperatives of Scientific Reason
Natural Selection and Natural Theology
The Evolution of Mind
Controversy with Mivart
Evolution, Metaphysics, and the Return to Religion
Morgan vs. Romanes on the Status of Comparative Psychology
The Monistic Framework of Morgan's Science
Morgan's Theory of Instinct
Mental Evolution and the Theory of Organic Selection
Conclusion: Science, Metaphysics, and Religion
9. The Personal Equation in Science: William James's Psychological and Moral Uses of Darwinian Theory
James's Depressive Period, 1865-1878
The Psychological and Moral Uses of Darwinism
10. James Mark Baldwin: Evolutionary Biopsychology and the Politics of Scientific Ideas
Training in the Old Psychology for the New
The Foundations of Baldwin's Psychological Science
Genetic Psychology and the Theory of Imitation
The Evolutionary Analysis of Consciousness in the Individual and the Race
The Social Evolution of Knowledge and Morality
Organic Selection and the Politics of Scientific Discovery
Conclusion: Scandal and Professional Extinction
11. Transformation of the Darwinian Image of Man in the Twentieth Century
Decline of Evolutionary Theory in the Social Sciences
The Reactions of the Biological Community to Theories of Mental Evolution
The Biology of Mind and Behavior in Germany: From Darwinism to Neo-Darwinism
The Rise of Sociobiology
Conclusion: Transformation in the Darwinian Image of Man and the Schism in Contemporary Evolutionary Theory
Conclusion: Darwinism Is Evolutionary
Appendix 1- The Natural-Selection Model and Other Models in the Historiography of Science
Five Models in the Historiography of Science
Evolutionary Models of Scientific Development
Conclusion: The Natural Selection Model as a Historiographic Model
Appendix 2- A Defense of Evolutionary Ethics
Constructing an Evolutionary Ethics
Objections to Evolutionary Ethics
The "Naturalistic Fallacy" Describes No Fallacy
Justification of Evolutionary Ethics
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