Dascal, Mivart e Darwin

sábado, julho 19, 2008

XXII World Congress of Philosophy
Seoul 30 July – 5 August, 2008
Invited Session
Reframing the Historiography of Philosophy: A Dialectic Approach
Chair: Marcelo Dascal (Tel Aviv); Co-Chair: Tomás Calvo Martínez (Madrid)

Anna Carolina Regner, On Darwin’s Philosophical Controversies
The celebrated “natural philosopher” Charles Darwin was not a professional epistemologist, a method theorist, or a metaphysician. However, the development and defense of his theory of natural selection involved fundamental debates concerning epistemological, methodological and metaphysical issues. Some of these debates took place with a range of opponents at different levels and in different contexts. Other debates did not actually occur, but they can be (re)constructed by focusing on Darwin’s ideas and on those of the thinkers who had a polemical influence on him. In this talk, I will analyze examples of these debates: the controversial positions of Darwin and William Whewell on conceiving “cause” to be inferred from their mutual references, the largely private debate between Darwin and his friend Joseph Hooker on the notion of “evidence”, the disparity between Darwin and Thomas Malthus’ ideas concerning “nature” (and “human nature”), and finally, the insoluble polemics between Darwin and George Mivart regarding the notion of “science”. These examples will also show that polemical debates may have different structures and scope, while playing a fundamental role in clarifying ideas and giving rise to new ones. The “dialectical approach” to be followed in this analysis combines a critical reading of Aristotle’s Rhetoric and Topics with some contemporary insights, and, in particular, with Marcelo Dascal’s approach to “controversies”.