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Darwin produced two hugely influential books on the subject of evolution: The Origin of the Species in 1859 and The Descent of Man in 1851. The former belongs properly to the science of biology, whereas the latter offered more to thinkers in terms of “social theory.”

Darwin's writings influenced ethical thought through a biological approach to social theory, which formed the basis for the social and ethical implications of evolutionism. The social and political thought of the later 19th century drew on themes and metaphors found in Darwin's work such that its principal ideas became known as “Social Darwinism.” In the 20th century, Darwinism took a new direction with the synthesis of Darwinism and Mendelian genetics or “neo-Darwinism.” This development generated the disciplines of sociobiology and ...

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