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There are certain kinds of arguments philosophers call “self-defeating” because if you turn out to be right you are wrong and obviously if you turn out to be wrong you’re wrong. Trying to find biological foundations for morality is one of these kinds of arguments. A very clear example of a self-defeating argument would be to argue that rational argument…

[In the Critique of Judgement, Kant] explicitly declares "praiseworthy" the ef­forts to trace morphological kinships with the help of comparative anatomy in order to find a system and a principle of creation. From the similarity in the building plans of so many animal species, he draws the hope that in time genuine insight into nature on the basis of mechanical…


The splendid festivities commemorating the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth make some essential facts about the life and works of this man of science momentarily invisible. To begin with, Darwin did not invent the theory of evolution: he found it ready-made under the form of an esoteric doctrine, in the work of his own grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, and as…

[The success] of the theory of evolution in the nineteenth century [is a source of bewilderment to the historian of ideas]. The evolution of the forms of life, as we observed [earlier in the text], was treated thoroughly in the biological theory of the eighteenth century. The creational theory of the species was abandoned; the idea of a chronological succession…