Darwin without Malthus

Darwin without Malthus : The Struggle for Existence in Russian Evolutionary Thought

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Nineteenth century Russian intellectuals perceived a Malthusian bias in Darwin's theory of evolution by means of natural selection. They identified that bias with Darwin's concept of the struggle for existence and his emphasis upon the evolutionary role of overpopulation and intraspecific conflict. In this book, Todes documents a historical Russian critique of Darwin's Malthusian error, explores its relationship to such scientific work as Mechnikov's phagocytic theory, Korzhinskii's mutation theory and Kropotkin's theory of mutual aid, and finds its origins in Russia's political economy and in the very nature of its land and climate. This is the first book in English to examine in detail the scientific work of nineteenth century Russian evolutionists, and the first in any language to explore the relationship of Russian theories to the economic, political, and natural circumstances in which they were generated. It combines a broad scope (dealing with political figures and cultural movements) with a close analysis of scientific work on a range of topics.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 230 pages
  • 160.8 x 242.8 x 19.3mm | 585.75g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 10 pp plates
  • 0195058305
  • 9780195058307

Table of contents

Darwin's metaphor and his Russian audience; Malthus, Darwin and Russian social thought; Beketov, botany and the harmony of nature; Korzhinskii, the steppe and the theory of heterogensis; Mechnikov, Darwinism and the Phagocytic theory; Kessler and Russia's mutual aid tradition; Kropotkin's theory of mutual aid; Severtsov, Timiriazev and the classical tradition.
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Review quote

'important book'
TAXON 39 (Aug 1990) 'Tthe book gives extensive and well-written descriptions of the lives and activities of five prominent Russian scientists who were active in public debates on evolution'Annals of Science 'IThis is a scholarly book about a theme which has not received the attention it deserves ... his book is a very valuable contribution to the comparative and national dimensions in the understanding of scientific developments.'
Times Higher Education Supplement
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