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Evolutionism in Eighteenth-Century French Thought

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Mary Efrosini Gregory

This book examines how eight eighteenth-century French theorists – Maillet, Montesquieu, La Mettrie, Buffon, Maupertuis, Diderot, Rousseau, and Voltaire – addressed evolutionism. Each thinker laid down a building block that would eventually open the door to the mutability of species and a departure from the long-held belief that the chain of beings is fixed. This book describes how the philosophes established a triune relationship among contemporary scientific discoveries, random creationism propelled by the motive and conscious properties of matter, and the notion of the chain of being, along with its corollaries, plenitude and continuity. Also addressed is the contemporary debate over whether apes could ever be taught to speak as well as the issue of race and the family of man.

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Index 335

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335 Index  A Abbadie, Jacques 52 Abolition of slavery Condorcet and 240 Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen 13, 251 Diderot and 215, 238–244 Encyclopedia and 234–236 Jaucourt and 234–236 Montesquieu and 42–44, 230–232 Rousseau and 11, 151–153, 165, 236–238 Voltaire and 222, 232–234 Age of the earth 4, 6, 14, 19–22, 25, 29, 31, 167–168, 175, 247, 249 Albino Indian 96–99 Albino Negro 98–100, 110, 187–188, 227–228 Alembert, Jean Le Rond d’ 4, 121, 157, 161 Animalcules 10, 12, 26, 79, 91, 113–114, 122, 128, 134–136, 169, 174, 194, 249 Anthropological metamorphosis, Rous- seau and 6, 10–11, 16, 143, 157, 159, 166, 247, 249–250 Apes, similarity to man Battell and 4, 197, 200 Beeckman and 198–199 Buffon and 3–4, 78, 87, 154–158, 199, 203–209 Diderot and 5, 12, 195–196, 212 Encyclopedia and 4, 200 Green and 4 Jaucourt and 4, 200 La Mettrie and 12, 46, 57–58, 61, 195, 199, 201–203 Leguat and 198 Lopez and 196 Maillet and 24, 189, 199 Perrault 201 Petty 201 Pigafetta and 196 Prévost and 4 Purchas and 4, 197–199 Rousseau and 5, 11–12, 156–163, 166, 195, 199, 209–212, 250 Smith and 199 Tyson and 199, 201 Apes, possibility of speaking Buffon’s opposition to 154–155, 203–209, 212 Cartesians’ opposition to 12–13, 196, 203–205, 251 Diderot in...

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