2017 – Wallace’s and Darwin’s natural selection theories


  • Ginnobili, S. & Blanco, D. “Wallace’s and Darwin’s natural selection theories”, Synthese (2017). doi:10.1007/s11229-017-1491-z. Ver publicación.



This work takes a stand on whether Wallace should be regarded as co-author of the theory of natural selection alongside Darwin as he is usually considered on behalf of his alleged essential contribution to the conception of the theory. It does so from a perspective unexplored thus far: we will argue for Darwin’s priority based on a rational reconstruction of the theory of natural selection (following a hierarchical perspective for scientific theories, we present its conceptual framework together with its fundamental and special laws) as it appears in the writings of both authors. We show that the theory does not appear in exactly the same manner in the writings of each of its alleged co-discoverers: tough we find the same fundamental elements in both works, even in Darwin’s early texts, we discern a more complex unifying and ramified structure than the one we find in Wallace’s Ternate manuscript. Even when we think the badge of the “Darwin–Wallace” theory is well deserved, the unifying force of Darwin’s version has proved to be one of the keys for the ulterior success of the so-called Darwinian revolution in Biology.



Darwin, Hierarchical view of theories, Natural selection, Theory of natural selection, Unifying power, Wallace



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