Darwin in Detail: What He Said and Why It Matters
The primary work of this seminar will be to understand what Charles Darwin said in On the Origin of Species, not in a broad popular way, but in its details. How was it written? Why was it written that way? What are the implications of how it was written for important cultural matters, such as religion and ethics? Students will be asked to keep track of the way Darwin is mentioned outside the classroom, among friends, on the web, on TV, and in newspapers and magazines. We will also consider whether the common sense of 160 years ago that saw the world as designed has been entirely replaced by a common sense that sees it as the product of mindless processes of nature.