The introduction argues that although scholars are aware that pragmatism emerged in the wake of Charles Darwin’s theory and that the pragmatists engaged with biology, we lack answers to a number of key questions: Was Darwin the only important influence? Where did the vocabulary of organism and environment originate? Did the different pragmatists use biological ideas in different ways? It also outlines the methodology of the book, which uses the immediate intellectual context of pragmatism to help make sense of its philosophical approach. Finally, it groups the pragmatists into a series of college graduation cohorts, with the first cohort graduating in the 1850s and 1860s and the second cohort graduating in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. It suggests that members of these first two cohorts were in constant conversation with the life sciences, distinguishing them from later cohorts of pragmatists.
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