Article ID: CBB346042760

Inference by Analogy and the Progress of Knowledge: From Reflection to Determination in Judgements of Natural Purpose (2015)


In this paper, I argue that Darwin's On the Origin of Species can be interpreted as the culmination of an extended exercise of what Kant called ‘the reflecting power of judgement’ that issued in a form of reasoning that Hegel associates with inference by analogy and that Peirce associates with hypothesis and later assimilates to abduction. After some exegetical and rationally reconstructive work, I support this reading by (1) showing that Darwin's theory of natural selection gave us a way of understanding the purposive character of organic generation and growth that does not rely on an analogy with intentional agency and (2) outlining some of the uses to which this new understanding was put in reasoning about mind and society by American intellectuals in the second half of the nineteenth century. In the process I hope to shed some light on the relationship between mechanistic and purposive explanation in judgements of nature.

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Article Robert Stern (2015) Introduction. British Journal for the History of Philosophy (pp. 601-610). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Ruse, Michael
Franks, Paul
Mazzeo, Marco
Thomas Khurana
Zammito, John H.
Tolman, Charles W.
Progress, ideas of
Natural selection
Idealism (philosophy)
Time Periods
19th century
18th century
20th century
21st century
Great Britain
Latin America

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