Social Darwinism in European and American Thought, by Mike Hawkins

By Mike Hawkins

This unique and wide-ranging research clarifies the which means of Social Darwinism and demonstrates its relevance via a examine of ecu and American social and political thinkers. it's the simply learn of Social Darwinism that mixes the research of person thinkers with the precise ideological subject matters (e.g., eugenics) and does so in a entire old and comparative framework. a large spectrum of educational readers will get pleasure from Dr. Hawkins' lucid and sophisticated research and locate it an invaluable consultant via a tricky and complicated topic.

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It could be equated with violent struggle and warfare, or - in keeping with Darwin's suggestions about the attenuation of struggle in civilised nations - warfare could be confined to primitive stages of social evolution, to be replaced by industrial competition or perhaps the battle of ideas as civilisation progressed. Hence the possibility of being both a Social Darwinist and a pacifist. Another very important area of indeterminacy related to the unit of evolution upon which natural selection acted.

The latter would, so Darwin argued, in the future exterminate 'the savage races throughout the world' as well as the 'anthropomorphous apes' (241-2). He was emphatic that without natural selection the heights of achievement exhibited by civilised nations would never have been attained. Indeed, Darwin even suggested that when one considered the vast tracts of fertile land populated only by wandering savages, one could not help but wonder whether the struggle for existence had been sufficiently severe (219).

Burkhardt, 'Lamarckism in Britain and the United States'; L. Jordanova, Lamarck (Oxford University Press, 1984). Darwin, letter to Lyell 12 March 1863, in F. Darwin, Charles Darwin, 257. Here Darwin mentions 'a wretched book' by Lamarck, presumably the latter's Zoological Philosophy. Darwin imputed to Lamarck the view that animals adapted to changing environments through acts of will, a common misinterpretation deriving from the misconstrual of besoin as 'want' whereas Lamarck intended 'need'. See Jordanova, Lamarck, 102; J.

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