Chapter

Toward a Synthesis: Wallace's Theistic Evolutionary Teleology

in An Elusive Victorian

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780226246130
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226246154 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226246154.003.0006
Toward a Synthesis: Wallace's Theistic Evolutionary Teleology

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This chapter focuses on those aspects of Wallace's evolutionary synthesis that provide a case study for examining the role of theistic beliefs as one component in shaping the formation of Victorian scientific theories. According to the terminology of modern theology, Wallace's evolutionary theism treats divine activity as a complement to scientific language, not a competitor. His views on organic evolution and astronomy displayed far greater penetration by theistic convictions. His polemical assaults on starkly materialistic interpretations of nature enhanced the interest in Wallace's evolutionary pronouncements. The integration of scientific theism with powerful elements of sociopolitical and ethical reformism is another manifestation of the comprehensiveness of Wallace's thought. Hence, Wallace's passion and expertise in pursuing a holistic and humane philosophy of nature remain a crucial legacy from the Victorian era.

Keywords: Wallace's evolutionary synthesis; theology; Victorian scientific theories; theistic convictions; Victorian era

Chapter.  17478 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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