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Was Hitler a Darwinian?Disputed Questions in the History of Evolutionary Theory$
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Robert J. Richards

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226058764

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226059099.001.0001

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Darwin’s Principle of Divergence

Darwin’s Principle of Divergence

Why Fodor Was Almost Right

(p.55) Chapter Three Darwin’s Principle of Divergence
Was Hitler a Darwinian?

Robert J. Richards

University of Chicago Press

Darwin believed his principle of divergence as important as his principle of natural selection. Darwin asserted, however, that he came to recognize the principle only in the 1850s, long after he had formulated his basic argument. What exactly did he discover in the 1850s that he had neglected earlier? This chapter argues that Darwin was misled by pigeons and the pigeon-fancier’s art. The chapter also considers the new conception of the environment that arose in the 1850s from Darwin’s mathematical analyses of species. This new conception of the environment led him to argue for the power of sympatric speciation, as opposed to allopatric speciation. The hinge of his several arguments depends on attributing intentional powers to nature. Jerry Fodor complains that neo-Darwinians make a similar attribution; he’s wrong about that. But if he had examined the Origin of Species, he would have had a case.

Keywords:   Big Species Book, botanical arithmetic, Darwin, divergence, entangled bank, Jerry Fodor, intentionality in nature, natural selection, Origin of Species, sympatric speciation

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