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Darwin's Evolving Identity – Adventure, Ambition, and the Sin of Speculation - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Darwin's Evolving Identity: Adventure, Ambition, and the Sin of Speculation

Alistair Sponsel


This book offers a new explanation for Charles Darwin’s apparent caution in publishing On the Origin of Species, which appeared more than two decades after he privately developed his first theories of evolution by natural selection. Whereas this restraint is often attributed to Darwin’s fear of admitting that he was an evolutionist, Sponsel argues that what concerned him most was not the topic, evolution, but the transgression of publishing a theoretical book. The one other time he had tried to do so, as a young man using his theory of coral reef formation to offer an ambitious account of the ... More

Keywords: Charles Darwin, evolution, coral reefs, Charles Lyell, Alexander von Humboldt, geology, theory, theories, Sociology of Scientific Knowledge, On the Origin of Species, biography, authorship

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780226523118
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2018 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226523255.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Alistair Sponsel, author
Vanderbilt University