Darwin and divergence: The Wallace connection

Abstract

Wallace's contributions to biological thought tend to be overlooked or overly praised, neither of which produces a satisfactory assessment. Examples of the latter tendency are the recent expositions by Brackman and Brooks; although both books contain much worthwhile material, both are flawed. At critical points their theories fail to measure up, Brackman's because of his misinterpretations of events in the month of June 1858, and Brooks's Darwin's September 5 letter to Gray could, and probably did, represent an ordering of his ideas in response to a felt challenge.A fruitful way to characterize the relationship between Darwin and Wallace may be found in terms of game theory. Most scholars look upon the relationship as a zero-sum game, with a winner and a loser, the matter of priority being considered as a “single event.” Another approach would be to look upon it as a non-zero-sum game with each man influencing the other. In this case, the productivity of one is stimulated by the contributions of the other, resulting in a net gain in knowledge overall, and both men become winners, or codiscoverers. This approach is possible if Wallace's contributions to the theory of evolution by means of natural selection are recognized

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Citations of this work

Darwin's Principles of Divergence and Natural Selection: Why Fodor Was Almost Right.Robert J. Richards - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):256-268.
Darwin’s Principles of Divergence and Natural Selection: Why Fodor Was Almost Right.Robert J. Richards - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):256-268.
The Impact of A. R. Wallace's Sarawak Law Paper Reassessed.John van Wyhe - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 60:56-66.

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