Darwin-L Message Log 5:140 (January 1994)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.

<5:140>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Tue Jan 25 17:22:29 1994

Date: Tue, 25 Jan 1994 18:32:54 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Tools and evolution
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

The following came to me from Mark Hineline for the group as a whole.

Bob O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)


Date: Tue, 25 Jan 1994 16:37:43 -0500
From: mhinelin@bruin.bowdoin.edu (Mark L. Hineline)
Subject: Tools and evolution
To: darwin@iris.uncg.edu

When I read the question posed by or for Polly Winsor,

  Who was the first person to suggest that humans used technology
  instead of organic adaptation to cope with their environment?  That
  is, how old is the idea that the evolution of human material culture
  allows humans to escape evolution?

I thought at once of Richard Hofstedter's Social Darwinism in American
Thought.  There he argued that the pragmatists made this argument to counter
the vicious determinism of social darwinists.  The claim was not that
evolutionary processes ceased but that human beings were not determined solely
by natural selection or other evolutionary processes.  Ward may have been the
first to make this argument in a -political- form; perhaps it was John Dewey.

Mark Hineline
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Bowdoin College
Brunswick Maine

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