Darwin and the Rise of Naturalism

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Session: 

  • Session A: July 10 - July 22, 2017

Time: 

  • 1:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Category: 

  • Philosophy and Society
  • Sciences

Instructor: 

  • Devin Curry
Description: 

In this module, students reenact meetings of the Royal Society in the 1860s, debating whether or not to award Charles Darwin the prestigious Copley Medal. Over the course of these meetings, students immerse themselves in 19th century controversies concerning the theory of evolution by natural selection; scientific methodology; the relationship between science and religion; mechanical and teleological conceptions of nature; the metaphysics of race; and the place of women in the academy. The module centers on Charles Darwin, the Copley Medal, and the Rise of Naturalism, 1862-1864, an installment in the Reacting to the Past series of role-playing games designed for use in college courses.

The module provides students with an in-depth understanding of Darwin’s historical context, the theory of evolution by natural selection and several issues in the philosophy of science. As such, it can prepare students for college coursework in biology, anthropology, paleontology, history, religious studies and philosophy, among other disciplines. By reenacting meetings of the Royal Society, students also become stronger public speakers and speech writers.

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