The Development of Darwin's Theory: Natural History, Natural Theology, and Natural Selection, 1838-1859
Dov Ospovat (Author)
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DescriptionDov Ospovat's book, originally published in 1981, has become generally accepted as one of the most influential books about Darwin published in recent years. Ospovat examines the period of 1838–1859 in detail, and shows that Darwin's views changed quite radically from his initial belief that animals and plants were perfectly adapted to their environments, and that evolution only occurred when the environment changed, to believing that living things were not perfectly adapted, were in constant competition with each other and hence, were continually evolving. By placing Darwin within the other biological developments of the day, Ospovat is able to show that he was not the scientific recluse of popular myth, that there was a theological basis for much of Darwin's original 1838–1844 theory and that his later 'principle of divergence' was influenced by his belief in evolutionary progress. This seminal work should be read by all those interested in the history of modern biology.
Cambridge University Press
28 April 1995
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