Aristotle and Darwin: Antagonists or Kindred Spirits?
|dc.contributor.author||Lennox, James G.|
|dc.description.abstract||In the decades following the forging of the so-called Neo-Darwinian Synthesis in the 1940s, a number of its philosophical defenders created a myth about what Charles Darwin was up against, a viewpoint called “typological essentialism” often attributed to Aristotle. In this paper I first sketch the history of how this myth was created. I then establish that it is a myth by providing an account of Aristotle’s essentialism as it is actually displayed in his philosophy of biology and in his biological practice. It has nothing to do with the ‘mythic’ version. We then turn to what Darwin was really up against—a common, anti-evolutionary way of defining the species concept in Darwin’s time (that owes nothing to Aristotle), and to his attempts to re-orient thinking about it. I will close by reconsidering Aristotle and Charles Darwin: Does it make any sense to think about the relationship between two thinkers separated by more than two millennia living in such vastly different cultures? What did Charles Darwin himself think about Aristotle?|
|dc.title||Aristotle and Darwin: Antagonists or Kindred Spirits?|
|dc.contributor.organization||University of Pittsburgh|
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Philosophic Exchange is published by the Center for Philosophic Exchange, at the College at Brockport. The Center for Philosophic Exchange was founded by SUNY Chancellor Samuel Gould in 1969 to conduct a continuing program of philosophical inquiry, relating to both academic and public issues. Each year the Center hosts four speakers, and each speaker gives a public lecture that is intended for a general audience. These lectures are then published in this journal.