Speaker: Nicolaas Rupke (Institute for Advanced Study)

Abstract: A Humboldtian, more comprehensive approach to evolutionary biology than Darwin’s, took shape during the period 1790s until 1940s. Following WWII, the theory was by and large abandoned and Darwinism, in the form of the New Synthesis, became “the only game in town.” This has led to an increase in the number of cognitive dissonance instances among those who work with evolution theory. I take stock of Humboldt’s structuralist heritage, and bring a range of non-Darwinian research and dissenting views together under the umbrella of the Humboldtian viewpoint. Moreover, in producing a historico-scientific narrative of the non-Darwinian alternative, I trace the theory back to its early, politically liberal roots, recovering the memory of its main representatives, while adding to conceptual clarity and present-day cogency.

Thursday, March 2, 12:30 p.m.
Institute for Advanced Study, 1 Einstein Drive, West Building Seminar Room, 2nd floor
Host by the Program in Interdisciplinary Studies

Read a synopsis of the meeting on our blog.