Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Philosophy, Animality and the Life Sciences$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Wahida Khandker

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748676774

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748676774.001.0001

Show Summary Details

Forces of Nature:

Forces of Nature:

Evolution, Divergence, Decimation

Chapter:
(p.12) 1. Forces of Nature
Source:
Philosophy, Animality and the Life Sciences
Author(s):

Wahida Khandker

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748676774.003.0002

This chapter outlines Henri Bergson's theory of vital ‘tendency’ and the diversity of life as the ‘goal’ of the élan vital, in the light of leading proponents of transmutation both before and after the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species. Entailed in Bergson's complementary theories of life and of knowledge is the constant risk of the failure to create new lines of activity and thought. In both organic evolution and the evolution of ideas, there is a tendency to fall into habitual, that is, pathological, modes of expression. Thus, included in Bergson's re-inscribed taxonomy of animal life in terms of tendencies are the negative or destructive tendencies towards pathology and decimation of populations. Resonances with this way of thinking about the simultaneously creative and destructive evolution of life are also explored in the work of the evolutionary biologist, Stephen Jay Gould.

Keywords:   evolution, decimation, diversity, tendency, Henri Bergson, Stephen Jay Gould

Edinburgh Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.