Darwinism, War and History: The Debate Over the Biology of War from the 'Origin of Species' to the First World War

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 17, 1994 - History - 306 pages
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This book challenges the received view that Darwinism generated essentially aggressive and warlike social values and pugnacious images of humankind. Paul Crook reconstructs the influential discourse of "peace biology," whose liberal vision was of a basically free humanity, not fettered by iron laws of biological necessity or governed by violent genes. By exploring a gamut of Darwinian readings of history and war, mainly in the English-speaking world prior to 1919, this study throws important new light on militarism, peace movements, the origins of World War I and British social thought.

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Contents

The Darwinian legacy
6
The age of Spencer and Huxley
29
Crisis in the west the prewar generation and the new biology
63
The natural decline of warfare antiwar evolutionism prior to 1914
98
The First World War man the fighting animal
130
The survival of peace biology
153
Naturalistic fallacies and noble ends
176
Conclusion
192
Social Darwinism
200
Notes
207
Bibliography
270
Index
298
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