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In Search of Human NatureThe Decline and Revival of Darwinism in American Social Thought$
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Carl N. Degler

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780195077070

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195077070.001.0001

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Laying the Foundation

Laying the Foundation

(p.59) 3 Laying the Foundation
In Search of Human Nature

Carl N. Degler

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace's thoughts about human nature. Wallace was known to share with Charles Darwin the credit for discovering natural selection as the motive force of evolution. However, he later changed his mind and conducted studies to prove that human beings had escaped from the operation of natural selection. The substance of his scientific argument related directly to the issue of racial differences. The disagreement between Darwin and Wallace on the question of race can be seen in their divergent conceptions of the mentality of primitive peoples.

Keywords:   Alfred Russel Wallace, human nature, Charles Darwin, natural selection, racial differences, mentality, primitive people

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