Contemporary Darwinism as a worldview

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 90 (C):68-76 (2021)
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Abstract

The most public-facing forms of contemporary Darwinism happily promote its worldview ambitions. Popular works, by the likes of Richard Dawkins, deflect associations with eugenics and social Darwinism, but also extend the reach of Darwinism beyond biology into social policy, politics, and ethics. Critics of the enterprise fall into two categories. Advocates of Intelligent Design and secular philosophers (like Mary Midgley and Thomas Nagel) recognise it as a worldview and argue against its implications. Scholars in the rhetoric of science or science communication, however, typically take the view that Darwinism isn't a worldview, but a scientific theory, which has been improperly embellished by some; they uphold the distinction between is and ought and argue that science is restricted to the former. This prompts an is–ought problem on another level. I catalogue the ways in which Darwinism plainly is a worldview and why commentators' beliefs that it ought not to be distorts their analysis. Hence, it is their own worldview that precludes them from accepting Darwinism's worldview implications.

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