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The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex - Volume 1

Charles Darwin

Book Overview: 

THE DESCENT OR ORIGIN OF MAN. A book on evolutionary theory by English naturalist Charles Darwin. It was Darwin's second great book on evolutionary theory, following, On The Origin of Species. In The Descent of Man, Darwin applies evolutionary theory to human evolution, and details his theory of sexual selection. The book discusses many related issues, including evolutionary psychology, evolutionary ethics, differences between human races, differences between sexes, and the relevance of the evolutionary theory to society.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ent past images and impressions continually passing through our minds, and these in their weakened state we compare with the ever-present social instincts, or with habits gained in early youth and strengthened during our whole lives, perhaps inherited, so that they are at last rendered almost as strong as instincts. Looking to future generations, there is no cause to fear that the social instincts will grow weaker, and we may expect that virtuous habits will grow stronger, becoming perhaps fixed by inheritance. In this case the struggle between our higher and lower impulses will be less severe, and virtue will be triumphant.

Summary of the two last Chapters.—There can be no doubt that the difference between the mind of the lowest man and that of the highest animal is immense. An anthropomorphous ape, if he could take a dispassionate view of his own case, would admit that though he could form an artful plan to plunder a garden—though he . . . Read More

Community Reviews

This is one of the classic works by Darwin, harder to read than the Origin of Species. The language used is dense, dry and typically Victorian.

Darwin gives an overview of the many pieces of evidence that to show that man is an animal.
When reading one must not forget that this book, as well as the author are products of their time. The information and conclusions given will be offensive and shocking to many. For instance the believe that '