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On Purpose$
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Michael Ruse

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691195957

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691195957.001.0001

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Evolution

Evolution

Chapter:
(p.61) Chapter Four Evolution
Source:
On Purpose
Author(s):

Michael Ruse

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691195957.003.0004

This chapter talks about evolution and its existence, although evolutionary theorizing didn't really rise above the status of a pseudoscience. People could see only too clearly that evolution existed on the back of what many considered the very iffy ideology of cultural progress. One mark was the way in which non-professionals like Robert Chambers felt free to plunge right in with their ideas, as though they had spent their lives working in the laboratory or out in the field. It also discusses the leading professional biologist to get tangled up with ideas of evolution, French naturalist Jean Baptiste de Lamarck, who published his speculations in his Philosophie Zoologique in 1809. That he was an enthusiast for cultural progress is shown if only by the fact that, although a minor aristocrat, it was during the revolution that his career really took off. He became a world-leading invertebrate taxonomist, a scientist of deserved respect, and as such was brought right up against the issue of the end-directed nature of the features of organisms.

Keywords:   Evolution, pseudoscience, Robert Chambers, Jean Baptiste de Lamarck, aristocrat, invertebrate, taxonomist

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