UZH-Logo

From descent to ascent: the human exception in the evolutionary synthesis


Sommer, Marianne (2010). From descent to ascent: the human exception in the evolutionary synthesis. Nuncius : annali di storia della scienza, 25(1):41-67.

Abstract

As the 'Darwin anniversary' (2009) has amply illustrated, Charles Darwin is seen as having forced a new understanding of self on humankind as a product of blind natural forces. However, mechanisms such as orthogenesis and the inheritance of acquired characteristics were maintained post-Origin to explain purposeful evolution. Only with the modern synthesis these mechanisms lost their validity, and Darwinian selection theory became the core of evolutionary biology. Thereafter, teleology was no longer an aspect of the natural world. This is how Theodosius Dobzhansky, Julian Huxley, Ernst Mayr, and George Gaylord Simpson told the history of evolutionary biology after Darwin throughout their lives. In the aftermath of the Darwin-year, it is worth taking another look: Was it in the evolutionary theories of the synthesis that humans finally became generally regarded as just another kind of living organism, subjected to the indifferent mechanisms of evolution and the whims of chance?

As the 'Darwin anniversary' (2009) has amply illustrated, Charles Darwin is seen as having forced a new understanding of self on humankind as a product of blind natural forces. However, mechanisms such as orthogenesis and the inheritance of acquired characteristics were maintained post-Origin to explain purposeful evolution. Only with the modern synthesis these mechanisms lost their validity, and Darwinian selection theory became the core of evolutionary biology. Thereafter, teleology was no longer an aspect of the natural world. This is how Theodosius Dobzhansky, Julian Huxley, Ernst Mayr, and George Gaylord Simpson told the history of evolutionary biology after Darwin throughout their lives. In the aftermath of the Darwin-year, it is worth taking another look: Was it in the evolutionary theories of the synthesis that humans finally became generally regarded as just another kind of living organism, subjected to the indifferent mechanisms of evolution and the whims of chance?

Citations

2 citations in Web of Science®
2 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of History
Dewey Decimal Classification:900 History
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:24 Feb 2011 15:36
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:29
Publisher:Olschki
ISSN:0394-7394
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:10.1400/147029
Official URL:http://digital.casalini.it/editori/default.asp?codice_opera=20130&numero=13&articolo=4&tipologia=R#
PubMed ID:20853706

Download

Full text not available from this repository.View at publisher

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations