Mort ou persistance du darwinisme ? Regard d’un épistémologue


fr Comptes Rendus Palevol 8 (2-3) - Pages 321-340

Published on 30 April 2009

This article is a part of the thematic issue Evolutionary history of Life

Death or persistence of Darwinism? A philosopher's point of view

The article examines why evolutionary biologists have been haunted by the question whether they are “Darwinian” or “non-Darwinian” ever since Darwin's Origin of species. Modern criticisms addressed to Darwinism are classified into two categories: those concerning Darwin's hypothesis of “descent with modification” and those addressed to the hypothesis of natural selection. In both cases, although the particular models that Darwin proposed for these two hypotheses have been significantly revised and expanded, Darwin's general framework has constrained and canalized evolutionary research, in the sense that it has settled an array of possible theoretical choices. Gould's changing attitudes regarding Darwinism is taken as a striking illustration of this interpretation.


Darwin, Darwinism, Structure of evolutionary theory, Descent with modification, Natural selection, Gradualism, Supraspecific evolution, Lateral transfer of genes, Symbiosis, Neutral theory of molecular evolution, Group selection, Complexity, Extinction, Divergence, Gould, Scientific change

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