Darwinism and Bioethics in the 19th Century

Friday, 15 October 2010, 6:00pm - 7:30pm, IWM library

Keynote Lecture at the conference Genealogies of Life. Philosophy and the Early Life Sciences in Context

Charles Darwin, his work and life are at the center of Dominique Lecourt’s talk in which he will explain the few perplexities that they pose when it comes to man’s place in evolution.

The traditional approach is to point out that this question is not explicitly treated in The Origin of Species but mentioned in only one programmatic and elliptic sentence. The most frequent interpretation of this fact is to assign it to Darwin’s prudence who fairly well knew that his approach to the topic would undoubtedly place him in a most delicate position with regard to the religious beliefs of the time.

Dominique Lecourt is Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at Université Paris Diderot where he leads the Centre Georges Canguilhem. He is Director General of the Institut Diderot and head of the surveillance council of Presses Universitaires de France (PUF).

Lecourt has written more than 30 books, among these L’Amérique entre la Bible et Darwin, suivi de Intelligent design: science, morale et politique (3rd ed. 2007) and the French version of Charles Darwin. Origines – Lettres choisies 1828-1859 (2009).

In cooperation with Institut Français de Vienne