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Evolutionism Transformed: Positivists and Materialists in the Société D’ Anthropologie de Paris from Second Empire to Third Republic

  • Joy Harvey
Part of the Australasian Studies in History and Philosophy of Science book series (AUST, volume 2)

Abstract

Below the surface of the usual tale of the acceptance of evolutionary ideas in France in the nineteenth century lies an even more intriguing story which links this introduction and acceptance to an alliance between positivists and materialists within the Central Committee of the Société d’Anthropologic de Paris. These two groups were linked by their politics, which were republican, by their free-thinking in religion, by a vision of continual social progress and finally by a polygenist view of human origin.1 Given this alliance, the acceptance of Darwinian evolution within this society was dependent on a modification of the evolutionary formulation which, in its hierarchical and progressive aspects, owed more to Lamarck than to Darwin. The evolutionary tree of Darwin with its multiple branches was transformed into a ‘forest of trees’.2

Keywords

Central Committee Darwinian Evolution Scientific Materialist Spontaneous Generation Evolutionary Idea 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company Dordrecht, Holland 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joy Harvey
    • 1
  1. 1.Harvard UniversityUSA

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