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On the Genesis of Species

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Published: 1871
Language: English
Wordcount: 88,091 / 285 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 41.4
LoC Category: Q
Downloads: 353
Added to site: 2007.03.15
mnybks.net#: 16274
Genre: Science
Excerpt

individual animal or plant (that which determines an embryo to evolve itself,--as, e.g., a spider rather than a beetle, a rose-plant {2} rather than a pear) is shrouded in obscurity. A fortiori must this be the case with the origin of a "species."

Moreover, the analogy between a "species" and an "individual" is a very incomplete one. The word "individual" denotes a concrete whole with a real, separate, and distinct existence. The word "species," on the other hand, denotes a peculiar congeries of characters, innate powers and qualities, and a certain nature realized indeed in individuals, but having no separate existence, except ideally as a thought in some mind.

Thus the birth of a "species" can only be compared metaphorically, and very imperfectly, with that of an "individual."

Individuals as individuals, actually and directly produce and bring forth other individuals; but no "congeries of characters" no "common nature" as such, can directly bring for

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