Owen's Ape and Darwin's Bulldog: Beyond Darwinism and Creationism

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9780253220516: Owen's Ape and Darwin's Bulldog: Beyond Darwinism and Creationism
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After Richard Owen criticized Darwin’s Origin, he was labeled a "creationist" by many, and his work on ape anatomy was derided by Darwin’s "bulldog" Thomas Huxley.In this close analysis of Owen’s texts, Christopher E. Cosans argues that Owen’s thought was much more sophisticated than Huxley portrayed it.In addition to considering Owen and Huxley’s anatomical debate, Owen’s Ape and Darwin’s Bulldog examines their philosophical dispute.Huxley embraced the metaphysics of Descartes, while Owen felt philosophy of science should rest on Kant’s claim that sense-perception does not tell us how things-in-themselves "really are." Owen thought the creationist-Darwinist dispute was unproductive, and held that both 19th century special creationists and Darwin’s suggestion in the Origin that God created the first life forms unnecessarily brought supernatural causation into science.

With the hindsight of how the theory of evolution has progressed over the last three centuries, the Owen-Huxley debate affords the history and philosophy of science a case study. It sheds light on theories of knowledge that have been advanced by Quine, Wittgenstein, Hanson, and Putnam. Owen’s Ape and Darwin’s Bulldog also examines Malthus, Mill and Marx for the influence of economic thought on early evolutionary theories, and considers broader ideas about how science and society interact.

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A few months after Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species, Thomas Huxley challenged Richard Owen at a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, and set off a debate about apes, brains, and human evolution. Owen’s Ape and Darwin’s Bulldog explores that first debate about Darwin's theory of evolution.

Huxley, a rising star in comparative anatomy and a protégé of Darwin, stood in contrast to Owen, the driving force behind the creation of the British Museum of Natural History. Owen's perspective was based on careful anatomical observations and on an interest in theories of evolution that had been proposed prior to Darwin's Origin. Huxley, soon to be known as Darwin's bulldog, built his case against Owen based in part on a different philosophy of how to practice science. In investigating the origins of this dispute, Christopher E. Cosans considers a tangled context of ideas stemming from the works of Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Thomas Malthus, Robert Chambers, Charles Darwin, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, Adrian Desmond, Nancy Cartwright, and Hilary Putnam.

Conventional wisdom is that Huxley discredited Owen, yet this book makes clear that Owen's anatomical claims had much more support than most historians and philosophers of science assume. Owen believed in developmental theories of evolution, which were precursors to modern evo-devo theory.

The Owen and Huxley debate is a perfect study for understanding relationships between science, ethics, and society. The story sheds light as well on current philosophical notions of scientific practice and how they influence our understanding of the history of science.

About the Author:

Christopher E. Cosans teaches philosophy at Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne.

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Book Description Indiana University Press, United States, 2009. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. After Richard Owen criticized Darwin s Origin, he was labeled a creationist by many, and his work on ape anatomy was derided by Darwin s bulldog Thomas Huxley.In this close analysis of Owen s texts, Christopher E. Cosans argues that Owen s thought was much more sophisticated than Huxley portrayed it.In addition to considering Owen and Huxley s anatomical debate, Owen s Ape and Darwin s Bulldog examines their philosophical dispute.Huxley embraced the metaphysics of Descartes, while Owen felt philosophy of science should rest on Kant s claim that sense-perception does not tell us how things-in-themselves really are. Owen thought the creationist-Darwinist dispute was unproductive, and held that both 19th century special creationists and Darwin s suggestion in the Origin that God created the first life forms unnecessarily brought supernatural causation into science. With the hindsight of how the theory of evolution has progressed over the last three centuries, the Owen-Huxley debate affords the history and philosophy of science a case study. It sheds light on theories of knowledge that have been advanced by Quine, Wittgenstein, Hanson, and Putnam. Owen s Ape and Darwin s Bulldog also examines Malthus, Mill and Marx for the influence of economic thought on early evolutionary theories, and considers broader ideas about how science and society interact. Seller Inventory # CBL9780253220516

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