Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 14, No 3 (2018)

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The Evolution Concept: The Concept Evolution

Agustin Ostachuk

Abstract


This is an epistemologically-driven history of the concept of evolution. Starting from its inception, this work will follow the development of this pregnant concept. However, in contradistinction to previous attempts, the objective will not be the identification of the different meanings it adopted through history, but conversely, it will let the concept to be unfolded, to be explicated and to express its own inner potentialities. The underlying thesis of the present work is, therefore, that the path that leads to the development of the concept of evolution is the path that studies the possibilities of the evolution of concepts, and that the historical reconstruction of its conceptual trajectory will shed light into potential and unexploited possibilities. This methodology will provide useful tools and resources for future developments of the concept. For example, it will define the concept of transmutation as a different conceptual trajectory deviating from the one corresponding to evolution, at the onset of the 19th century. Moreover, epigenesis will not be the opposing concept to evolution, but only to simultaneous and instantaneous generation. It will demonstrate that every important system of epigenesis drew upon some kind of formative power to explain development. More importantly, it will show that the problem of preformation cannot be overlooked, and that some kind of virtual preformation must be considered in order to address the problems of generation and development.

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