Darwin and Thomas Huxley
Chapter 8 endnote 22, from Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context is:
[To Darwin,] emotional expressions were primarily a compelling example for his broader arguments about evolution. [That humans are animals.] [...] A claim that infuriated many of his contemporaries.
Darwin did not get around to directly addressing the issue of human evolution until 1871, when he published The Descent of Man. Before then, he let his colleague, the biologist Thomas Huxley take all the heat. Huxley provoked scholars and members of the public into moral outrage by knocking the human species from its special place in the universe to become the mere cousins of apes. Expression was originally to be published as the last chapter of Descent, but instead it was published a year later, in 1872, as a free-standing volume. Published this way, Expression appears as independent evidence supporting human evolution. Whereas Huxley compared the skeletons of humans to those of other great apes to demonstrate their common origin, in his book Evidence as to Man’s Place in Nature, which he published in 1863, Darwin constructed an elaborate story about how human emotional expressions could be found in animals throughout the animal kingdom. What better evidence for human evolution than to show that humans retain these vestigial, useless expressions from our animal past? Some science historians even believe that Darwin constructed his arguments for emotional expressions before ever collecting an ounce of data. When relying on preconceived notions, Darwin concluded that emotions were physical types, expressed in the pretty much the same way from insects to humans. When he observed the natural world around him, however, Darwin emphasized variation within populations and developed some of the most important scientific ideas in the last 200 years.
Notes on the Notes
- Browne, Janet. 1985. "Darwin and the expression of the emotions." In The Darwinian Heritage, edited by David Kohn, 307-326. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
- Desmond, Adrian, and James Moore. 1991. Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist. New York: Times Warner
- For a discussion, see Fridlund, Alan J. 1992. "Darwin's Anti-Darwinism and 'The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.'" In International Review of Emotion, Volume 2, edited by K. T. Strongman, 117-137. New York: Wiley.
- La Vergata, Antonello. "Images of Darwin: A historiographic overview." In The Darwinian Heritage, edited by David Kohn, 307-326. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
- Gruber, Howard E., and Paul H. Barrett. 1974. Darwin on Man: A Psychological Study of Scientific Creativity. EP Dutton.