Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior

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University of Chicago Press, Jul 15, 1989 - Psychology - 718 pages
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With insight and wit, Robert J. Richards focuses on the development of evolutionary theories of mind and behavior from their first distinct appearance in the eighteenth century to their controversial state today. Particularly important in the nineteenth century were Charles Darwin's ideas about instinct, reason, and morality, which Richards considers against the background of Darwin's personality, training, scientific and cultural concerns, and intellectual community. Many critics have argued that the Darwinian revolution stripped nature of moral purpose and ethically neutered the human animal. Richards contends, however, that Darwin, Herbert Spencer, and their disciples attempted to reanimate moral life, believing that the evolutionary process gave heart to unselfish, altruistic behavior.

"Richards's book is now the obvious introduction to the history of ideas about mind and behavior in the nineteenth century."—Mark Ridley, Times Literary Supplement

"Not since the publication of Michael Ghiselin's The Triumph of the Darwinian Method has there been such an ambitious, challenging, and methodologically self-conscious interpretation of the rise and development and evolutionary theories and Darwin's role therein."—John C. Greene, Science

"His book . . . triumphantly achieves the goal of all great scholarship: it not only informs us, but shows us why becoming thus informed is essential to understanding our own issues and projects."—Daniel C. Dennett, Philosophy of Science

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Darwin and the emergence of evolutionary theories of mind and behavior

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Richards traces scientific and philosophical concepts of the mind's evolution through scholarly writings from the Enlightenment to the present. Lamark, Cuvier, Huxley, Wallace, Morgan, William James ... Read full review

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About the author (1989)

Robert J. Richards is professor of history, philosophy, and behavioral science at the University of Chicago. He is a member of the Committee on the Conceptual Foundations of Science and director of the Program in History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine.

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