"La Peyrère's Polygenism and Human Species Hierarchy"

Journal of the History of Philosophy (forthcoming)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In 1655 La Peyrère was the first to substantially argue for and popularize polygenism—the view that God created multiple original human mating pairs in separate acts of creation with numerous created before Adam. Positing or rejecting polygenism has been central to modern theorizing about human types and origins. Prominent recent interpreters have maintained that La Peyrère’s polygenism does not imply a hierarchy of human types. This paper reconstructs La Peyrère’s account and, in opposition to the dominant view, argues that his polygenism produces a human species hierarchy. The Adamite species is superior to the Pre-Adamite species in virtue of its material composition, mode of creation, and form. The upshot is that La Peyrère’s theological system posits a proto-racialist conception of human types.

Author's Profile

Jacob Zellmer
University of California, San Diego


Added to PP

64 (#89,837)

6 months
64 (#62,940)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?