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An Elusive VictorianThe Evolution of Alfred Russel Wallace$
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Martin Fichman

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780226246130

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226246154.001.0001

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Toward a Synthesis: Wallace's Theistic Evolutionary Teleology

Toward a Synthesis: Wallace's Theistic Evolutionary Teleology

(p.283) Chapter 6 Toward a Synthesis: Wallace's Theistic Evolutionary Teleology
An Elusive Victorian
University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on those aspects of Wallace's evolutionary synthesis that provide a case study for examining the role of theistic beliefs as one component in shaping the formation of Victorian scientific theories. According to the terminology of modern theology, Wallace's evolutionary theism treats divine activity as a complement to scientific language, not a competitor. His views on organic evolution and astronomy displayed far greater penetration by theistic convictions. His polemical assaults on starkly materialistic interpretations of nature enhanced the interest in Wallace's evolutionary pronouncements. The integration of scientific theism with powerful elements of sociopolitical and ethical reformism is another manifestation of the comprehensiveness of Wallace's thought. Hence, Wallace's passion and expertise in pursuing a holistic and humane philosophy of nature remain a crucial legacy from the Victorian era.

Keywords:   Wallace's evolutionary synthesis, theology, Victorian scientific theories, theistic convictions, Victorian era

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